Overcoming Technical Challenges
Our work and proven track record across the marine sector has resulted in the successful deployment of Captec marine computing platforms within several high profile projects. Recently, one of our customers, a diesel engineering firm, tasked us with designing and developing panel PCs for a large scale marine energy monitoring and management project.
The customer presented us with the challenge of providing them a rugged computer for mounting on ship bridges to support marine energy monitoring and management software. The software provides insight to both the captain of the ship and onshore operational staff through accurately logging fuel consumption and voyage data, visually represented through a Captec panel PC and web dashboard. The readings are then used to evaluate efficiency, enabling captains to tailor their navigation techniques to save fuel and minimise environmental impact.
The project involved a list of challenging technical requirements that needed to be assessed and overcome in order to deliver a fit for purpose, application-ready platform. First, the PCs needed to be equipped to operate reliably and for an extended period of time in challenging marine environments. Conditions prevalent on the bridges of ships include high amounts of dust ingress and exposure to shock and vibration. Failure to protect against them could lead to costly downtime. We evaluated the levels of protection the PCs would need to counteract these stress factors and as a result of our assessment, equipped the units with an IP65 protective front panel.
A fundamental component to securing participation in this marine energy monitoring and management project was creating a solution to the customer’s most challenging technical requirement. Due to the location of the installation, any light emitted from screens during night operation would result in interference with critical navigation systems. This meant the brightness of the panel PCs had to be capable of being dimmed to absolute zero. While this presented difficulties, our technical services and production teams collaborated to make the modifications that achieved complete dimming and met the exact specification.
The PCs were now protected, the specifications were met, but there was still one last hurdle to overcome. The customer stipulated that lead times needed to shorten far below the typical 12 weeks for a project of this size, and further still below the 8-10 weeks we can achieve through lean build processes. To resolve the challenge, we took ownership of configuration. By sourcing components individually from multiple vendors and using the experience of our team, we were able to configure the PCs in-house which resulted in the significant reduction of project timescales to four weeks.
Meeting lead time expectations proved key in de-risking the customer’s marine energy monitoring and management project. At Captec, we take pride in delivering a complete turnkey service. From design and development, through to configuration, testing and logistics, we have the experience and the specialist teams required to provide elegant and effective solutions in an ever-changing technical landscape.
Our panel PCs can be modified to suit any application, see the range here.