Years of R&D result in pioneering products

Published in category: Innovation

With the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention expected to come into force in 2016 and with some 60,000 vessels needing to comply, Damen has made sure it can provide a full range of ballast water treatment solutions to customers. The Damen Ballast Water Product Group provides all encompassing, one-stop retrofit and newbuild solutions, as well as a pioneering new mobile port solution called InvaSave.

ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid E3
Having started the E3 tug R&D project in 2008 in cooperation with Smit, Alewijnse and research institutes, the first Damen ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid was launched in 2014 and went directly into service for Iskes Towage, based near Amsterdam.

By combining diesel-direct, diesel-electric propulsion and battery power the vessel can achieve average fuel savings of up to 30% and this rises to 40% for emissions. Being green, however, does not mean sacrificing power with the tug still achieving a bollard pull of 60 tonnes.

During station keeping, manoeuvring and low speed sailing (up to 5 knots), the tug utilises battery packs and these batteries are also used when the tug is at the quayside at night, doing away with the use of generators.

Peter van Terwisga, Damen’s Research Coordinator, emphasises: “The launch of this hybrid vessel is a really important step but the research still continues after delivery.

“An Alewijnse system means that we can monitor the whole propulsion system ashore, enabling us to obtain detailed data and information about the condition of the system on board, detect anomalies etc. so we can adapt our maintenance and services. The owner can also use this data to optimise the operation and reduce fuel consumption.”

And coupled with this, it gives Damen a better insight into the actual condition of the vessel and its operational profile, which allows the Group to optimise designs in the future. “All these elements help improve designs. For example, we can examine the configuration and operational profile and perhaps it is possible to lower the amount of installed battery power.”

As well as the new hybrid ASD tug, Damen’s efforts in sustainable innovations in propulsion goes further with the company having already built an electrical patrol vessel for the canals of Amsterdam that runs on 100% battery power and an LNG inland shipping vessel, otherwise known as the EcoLiner, is under construction.

Additionally, the development of a Compressed Natural Gas Tug is one of latest results of Damen and its partners’ research efforts.

Twin Fin
In addition to the new hybrid tug, Damen has also been successful in securing a patent for a new Twin Fin arrangement that has been applied to an ATD tug. Currently, under construction, the Twin Fin helps provide the right balance between manoeuvrability and course stability.

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Search & Rescue (SAR) 1906
The first newly developed SAR 1906 was launched in 2014 and was promptly crowned Netherlands Ship of the Year.

Developed with the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM), Delft University of Technology and De Vries Lentsch Naval Architects, the new SAR represents years of research. The new type is the next generation of KNRM vessel and is known for its outstanding performance in a seaway.

Work started in 2009 when various concept designs were jointly made and extensively tested by Delft University of Technology. The SAR 1906 is a 35-knot self-righting vessel, with an aluminium hull and a composite wheelhouse. The hull design is based on Axe Bow technology, adapted for the specific operations of lifeboats.

Peter points out that the SAR illustrates that research efforts don’t stop when vessels are handed over. When the prototype was being sailed between the Netherlands and Sweden, the crew felt that too much spray was generated. Therefore Damen, in close collaboration with its partners, conducted a series of experiments in a wind tunnel at Milan Polytechnic looking at the flow phenomenon around the bow and fenders. “We looked at how the spray was generated onto the windows and steering cabin and evaluated alternative modifications to the fendering. The end result was a significant reduction in spray and the KNRM is very pleased with the outcome.” Damen is also licensed to sell the vessel to third parties.

Waterbus
Knowledge built up over many years about composite structures through the Damen led joint industry project Fast Light Hull Technology (FLIGHT) has been applied in new modular ferry concepts. The tools that have been developed enabled the optimisation of modules and making trade-offs in structural designs based on the design loads for different configurations. The first modular ferry is currently under construction in Damen Shipyards Antalya, Turkey.

Damen knows about
the environment these
components have to
operate in, therefore we
can work with suppliers on
developing them.

SEA AXE research
Progress was made in the SEA AXE research programme, (following on from the development of Damen’s well-known Axe Bow concept), on new and anticipating ride control systems. This builds on the assumption that incoming waves can be measured on fast craft. Delft University experimentally verified the approach in which a motion prediction tool – in combination with thrust and interceptor control – results in a significant reduction of acceleration levels or an increase of speed for a given acceleration level. Further research will focus on the sensor system that will provide the incoming wave data to the system. Full-scale testing of a rotating cylinder bow rudder is continuing this year.

Strategic research & critical components
The Group-wide strategic research programme began in 2015. This has started with three projects: the controlled use of new Computational Fluid Dynamics tools, the development of new knowledge and services through remote monitoring of Damen vessels and the development of new energy saving technologies, or the development of remotely operated and/or autonomous vessels.

Fender design and analysis, noise & vibration predictions, DP performance predictions, cooling system design and analysis will also be under scrutiny. Peter stresses: “Our research efforts into fender design and analysis don’t have a high profile like the introduction of a new vessel type but they are very important for the performance of our vessels and for our customers.

“The research involves a lot of effort into increasing our knowledge of critical components. Damen knows about the environment these components have to operate in, therefore we can work with suppliers on further developing them.”

The Twin Axe Fast Crew Supplier, which has to be landed against turbines in high sea states, is a prime example he adds. “Huge loads are placed on the fendering and this needs to be absorbed while the crew are being transferred. It is very challenging to design for these loads.”

While this overview by no means covers the many research initiatives that are underway in the Group, we hope this gives an impression of the topics, projects and programmes Damen is busy with, so it can maintain its innovative edge, while continuing to provide its customers with efficient and reliable products.