Two-stroke engine designer and developer Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) has signed an agreement with ship performance monitoring specialist Propulsion Analytics of Piraeus, Greece to jointly develop an advanced diagnostics system for all WinGD two-stroke diesel and dual-fuel engines.
In what's seen as a major step towards digitization in the shipping sector, the objective of the system to be developed is to provide shipowners and operators with digital technologies that will enhance both operational efficiency and crew decision-making processes related to the main engine.
The agreement targets the implementation of a pilot system with a leading shipping company by early 2017. The prototype is expected to be running in the field by mid-2017 and full release on the entire WinGD engine portfolio is forecast for 2018.
The system will acquire and analyze data on the performance and condition of the engine and its sub-components in real-time and provide live troubleshooting and diagnostic advice to the crew. In addition, it will be capable of connecting to shore-based stakeholders.
In this way, says WinGD VP Operations Andrew Stump, the system completes and enhances ship digitization by providing a two stroke engine performance optimizer and diagnostic system.
The proposed system will enable the ship operator to:
optimize engine performance in all its aspects (fuel consumption, power, emissions).
intelligently diagnose the engine status, via performance information, sub-systems and components current behavior, enabling prediction and diagnosis of component malfunction and extension of maintenance intervals (condition-based maintenance).
troubleshoot abnormalities by providing the crew and the shipping company with more detailed information on which key components are affected and what are the relevant steps to fix the malfunction.
have an integrated planning and online spare parts purchasing.
train its crew and shipping company by providing virtual and interactive tuition.
communicate engine data ashore to the shipowner and, if wished, to other interested parties such as service providers.
store data in a secured environment enabling fleet comparisons when required.
All these capabilities will be implemented into a user-friendly on-board system using the most competitive and state of the art hardware, software and data analytics techniques.
Based on needs identified by WinGD in consultation with engine end-users, Propulsion Analytics will develop software solutions for processing and evaluating data gathered from on-engine sensors. The data will be processed in digital controlling, monitoring and diagnostic systems.
Advanced voyage optimization tool
The complete system is also intended to provide knowledge on real-time, round-the-clock engine operation that can be used to improve engine performance based on load profiles acquired over complete voyages in a full range of ambient conditions (air temperature and pressure, winds, tides and currents).
"In present market conditions, where shipping companies are striving to further optimise their operations and reduce costs, this technology will provide real time support to improve the performance and operational efficiency of their main engine and machinery, while simultaneously strengthening WinGD's technology leadership in this new digital era," notes Mr. Stump. "With real-time data collection and exchange across a shipping company's vessels, WinGD's new engine diagnostic system will be the first advanced product on a two-stroke engine that will not only optimise and monitor performance but will also track the condition of key engine components. It will be able to predict future malfunctions and provide troubleshooting support to shipping companies in order to prevent failures and/or fix technical problems faster and more economically."
Mr. Stump says that the project marks a great step on WinGD's digital transformation journey. "Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things represent tremendous opportunities for traditional businesses when incorporating and integrating digital services into product portfolios to achieve a leading position in the next innovation wave," he says. "Our collaboration with Propulsion Analytics utilizes their deep digital knowledge to enable a more traditional products company such as ours to enlarge its offering by taking advantage of the digital technologies."
Dominik Schneiter, Vice President Research & Development at WinGD also sees the agreement as a key step towards technology leadership.
"The collaboration with Propulsion Analytics will help us realize our ambition to lead innovation in the field of shipping digitization, focusing first on the 2-stroke engine – our core expertise – and then enlarging it to the whole ship machinery and smart ship," he says.
"The engine diagnostic system is something that the industry has been expecting for a long time and we are really happy to embark on this journey with a pioneering partner like WinGD," says Propulsion Analytics CEO Panos Theodossopoulos. "The combination of Internet of Things technologies with physical models, big data analytics and human expertise are at the core of our company's philosophy."