This article first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
The maintenance of engines and equipment on board cruise ships and ferries is essential to ensure their safe and reliable operation.
“All equipment must be properly checked, upgraded or repaired at set intervals, so most operators predetermine maintenance and dry dock plans based on this, but problems can arise if vital equipment becomes break unexpectedly while the ships are at sea,” says General Stefan Nygård. Head of Portfolio Management, Digitization at Wärtsilä Services. “Sometimes the crew can solve minor problems at sea, but larger and more complex problems, such as engine failure, may have to be solved ashore by specialist engineers, which can lead to the cancellation of ‘a cruise or ferry service.’
According to Nygård, condition monitoring and condition-based maintenance are an ideal solution. “Most on-board equipment is now equipped with sensors and we can analyze this data remotely to track the condition of this equipment and notify operators of minor issues so they can be repaired before they become a major issue. “, did he declare. “For example, we could let them know that there is a minor problem with their HVAC system and although it is currently working well, it is likely to fail within four months if they don’t fix it. This approach is much safer as it means that equipment can be repaired or replaced when it begins to wear out, which can be well before it is scheduled in the operator’s pre-planned maintenance schedule. .
Condition monitoring also helps operators determine if problems can be fixed while the vessel is at sea or in port, or if they should be done while in drydock. “If an engine is broken, the owner can immediately assume that he should cancel scheduled departures and head straight for a shipyard, but if we can see that he has excess engine power, we can advise him that ‘He can just shut down and repair the broken engine while continuing normal operations,’ comments Nygård.
Although Wärtsilä has been providing condition monitoring solutions to marine operators for 20 years, Nygård says shipowners are now looking to do more than just react quickly when equipment fails. Instead, they want to predict when issues are likely to arise so they can align their maintenance schedules with their overall business goals. Wärtsilä Genius services take a three-pronged approach to help operators achieve this goal: optimize, predict and solve.
“Our goal is to help shipowners optimize their operations in real time by analyzing data from on-board sensors and other sources to predict the life cycles of their various equipment so they can maximize uptime and better plan by problem,” says Nygård. “Finally, our goal is to help operators resolve technical issues instantly to ensure that they continue to provide safe and reliable service to their customers, even when an unexpected problem arises. We’re not there yet, but as the Internet of Things becomes mainstream and more data analytics tools become available, we’ll be able to easily offer these predictive services remotely. .