DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen at the forefront of remote monitoring developments

Published in category: Innovation

Above all, we want to help our customers improve their efficiency, reduce their costs, and improve the availability of their vessels. Remote monitoring is one way we can do this.

Damen is a frontrunner in remote access and monitoring developments with remote applications one of the major areas of focus of a group-wide Research & Development programme.

Even though the maritime industry has largely been slower than other sectors in adopting remote capabilities, Damen has been working on these initiatives for many years.

A wide range of vessel types already have remote access such as the Cutter Suction Dredgers and the Hybrid ASD Tug 2810, and there are currently pilots going on with the Damen ASD Tug 2913 and the Fast Crew Supplier 2610. For the dredgers, Damen has remote access to the most essential operational data, such as diesel engine and dredge process information including vacuum and pressure levels, and several alarms. For the ASD tugs, remote monitoring supplies information about the batteries, propulsion and the distribution of power needed.

“Remote access and monitoring has tremendous benefits for our customers,” stresses Olivier Marcus, Product Director Dredging. “Ultimately it improves the Total Cost of Ownership for the owner.”

Drawing on examples from the automotive industry, where it is getting increasingly common for some cars to alert the driver about maintenance issues, he adds: “Rather than going for a maintenance check after so many miles, the car tells you that filters need replacing for example. Any issues can immediately be dealt with, rather than letting problems escalate.

“Condition based maintenance is one of the main benefits of remote monitoring. It allows the operator to have more reliable, efficient vessels, with increased uptime and decreased maintenance costs.”

Remote monitoring also helps Damen improve its products, Peter van Terwisga, Director Group Research, stresses. “Of course Damen has a huge data set from more than 5,000 vessels we have built over the decades. But this data is limited because we don’t have the long-term information about exactly how the vessel is being used in the real operational context.”

Jaap de Lange, Director Damen Services, agrees: “When Damen has this operational data the operators and Damen can see how the vessel is performing and what the availability of the system is. This can then be fed back to the relevant Product Group and used to adjust our designs and services to ensure vessels have even higher availability in the future.”

With this crucial data, customers can perhaps make changes in the way their vessels operate to improve efficiency and in the longer term, remote access may also lead to a decrease in crew levels, he adds.

“There is a general trend to decrease crewing numbers. If owners have a good onshore organisation monitoring the systems on board their fleet, there may be possibilities to save on engineers aboard.”

Additionally, if Damen or the customer can see that systems need to reboot, settings need to change, or that there is a new software release, these issues can largely be solved remotely, rather than having to send an engineer to the ship. “This represents considerable savings and allows the operator to act promptly.”

In the medium-term, data collected remotely can also be used to help train crews about efficiencies they can make. “We can help customers get a better performance from their vessels,” Olivier points out.

And they all agree that – again like the automotive industry – it won’t be too long before owners can check on the status of their vessel’s performance just by glancing at their mobile phones.

“Above all, we want to help our customers improve their efficiency, reduce their costs, and improve the availability of their vessels. Remote monitoring is one way we can do this.”

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