A ship can be at sea for sometimes months on end between docking and in such times it needs to function as something of an ecosystem in itself. A focus on efficient processes is crucial to ensure this can run smoothly and safely. The development of Ship Machinery and Monitoring systems has allowed many of these systems to be streamlined, and integrated together under one umbrella system.
As these systems have evolved, the number of previously independent ship systems that have been brought together has risen steadily. Staff are now equipped with an ever more efficient onboard operation that optimises manpower – and in turn results in resourceful use of space.
Initially encompassing purely the ships primary systems such as its propulsion and auxiliary machinery, electrical generation, power distribution and alarms, Ship Control and Monitoring Systems now also integrate the following elements:
• Health monitoring
• Loading & stability
• Cargo control & monitoring
• Tank management
• Ballast operations
• Winch systems
• Logging and trending
• Hotel systems
• Maintenance management
Due to the extensiveness of this system, networked workstations and interfaces are distributed throughout the ship, most crucially on the Bridge, but also in the Engine Control Room and Accommodation areas.
On the Bridge, an additional level of integration is required to interface with Integrated Bridge Systems (IBS), to contribute a fully integrated ship control & monitoring system.
High reliability and compliance is key to the architecture of the systems, using only computers that are Marine Certified to combat the environmental conditions encountered in naval conditions. Fanless operation and SSD storage ensure that computer hardware contains no moving parts, minimising the need for maintenance. Since typically there is very little access to specialist technical support for the systems, and to spares, this is of vital importance.