Integration is the Watchword at SMM



As is true with any industry segment, shipping can take integration of various organised systems to new levels with ingenuity and bravery to invest.  Fleet operations can be integrated with onboard activities, e-navigation, ship simulation and sea traffic control. Bridge systems can be integrated with engine room monitoring, automation, dynamic positioning and specialised operation components.

The willingness of vessel owners is essentially required to take these steps to enhance their operations, improve system performance and deliver operational efficiencies.  It also needs authorities to invest in sea traffic control systems that are not obtrusive to daily ship operations.

Exhibitors at this year’s SMM congress in Hamburg are presenting their integrated technology.  These represent different levels of combination of systems, depending on what technology they can deliver to various ship types, and what they think owners are potentially willing to pay for.

Raytheon Anschutz

Raytheon Anschutz presented its take on advanced navigation systems.  I was taken on a tour of the new Synapsis NX intelligent bridge and integrated navigation system with smart heading and radar sensors.  Raytheon has taken away the need for separate consoles and combined the expected bridge control and display systems in one desk full of touchscreens.

There are multifunction touchscreen displays for ecdis, radar, conning and e-navigation, plus displays that can be configured for ship-specific operations and particular customer requirements.  This can include integration with a vessel’s automation for alarm monitoring, or engine system control.

Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime presented its integrated vessel concepts that incorporate existing bridge technology, distributed power management, dynamic positioning and dynamic vessel operations.  The electrical side is supplemented by its partnership with Schneider Electric on switchboards.

Its integrated vessel concepts harmonise the handling of equipment, operation of the ship and conservation of energy consumption.  It has generated various vessel concepts around these new levels of integration, including container ships, inspection and repair vessels, research ships, shuttle tankers, windfarm support vessels and passenger ships.  Electrical systems will be fully integrated with onboard technology to ensure optimal power consumption for dynamic vessel operations, said Kongsberg vice president for business development Srinivas Tati.


Transas wants to take onboard integration further with dedicated links between onboard systems and shore-based teams in fleet operations centres.  It expects this would enable shore managers to assist crew in daily operations and improved route planning and implementation.  Transas solutions director Guy Sear expects this can be taken further by integrating ship solutions and fleet support with ship traffic control, where authorities can provide information in advance on port conditions and other vessels operating around a coastal area.  This should improve onboard decisions and situational awareness for the crew.

All this integration will need companies and nations to invest in technology and updating existing systems.  It will require improvements to satellite communications, onboard networks, sensor arrays and ship automation.  The question is, in the existing market downturn who is willing to invest in further integrated and advanced systems? Some are hoping it will be the cruise ship industry followed by owners that can identify the efficiency benefits.

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Source: Marine Electronics & Communications


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