Working in collaboration with Altera Infrastructure, one of the world’s leading operators of shuttle tankers, DNV has successfully completed a fleet-wide implementation of “Nerves of Steel”, the industry’s most- advanced hull integrity monitoring system, says an article published on their website.
About “Nerves Of Steel”
According to Antonio Goncalves, Business Lead (Maritime Advisory) at DNV, the organization worked to develop a tool called “Nerves of Steel” that can provide a more dynamic overview, which not only helps explain past findings, but also allows owners to predict the future degradation of the vessel. Nerves of Steel allows for more cost-effective and proactive scheduling of dry-dockings and provides greater guidance on where inspectors should focus to find potential damage, saving time at the yard.
“Nerves of Steel is a user-friendly tool, providing operators with a high-level overview of the fleet, with hull integrity indicators based on encountered weather conditions,” says Goncalves. “This insight gives owners a better understanding of structural integrity.”
Utilizing to calculate operational effects
The development of increasingly sophisticated software tools, such as digital twins and onboard sensors now found on many vessels, created an opportunity to develop Nerves of Steel further.
“For example, by utilizing ‘digital twins’ to calculate the wave-induced damage risk for ship hulls, fleet managers can visualize all key components, perform analyses and calculations,” explains Goncalves. “In this way, owners have more control over the long-term effects of operation on the ship’s structural and functional components.”
Collaboration with Altera Infrastructure
In 2020, DNV entered into a formal collaboration with Altera Infrastructure to develop a structural monitoring system for hulls that would add value to its fleet of shuttle tankers. According to Lars Holterud Aarsnes, DNV’s Digital Product Manager (Maritime Advisory), “By sharing their hands-on experience and operational know-how, Altera Infrastructure ensured the tool has the correct features and usability for the end user ” Aarsnes says. “DNV’s contribution was to perform the technical calculations and develop a dashboard to help users visualize hull utilization of individual vessels.”
James Fowler, Structural Integrity Manager for Altera Infrastructure, says “We have gained a great deal of insight working with DNV, and by identifying our safety, operational and commercial priorities which are unique to our shuttle tanker fleet, we have a solution that fits our needs,” he says. “We have implemented the basic Nerves of Steel indicator service across our entire shuttle tanker fleet and are currently pilot-testing the digital-twin numerical services on four vessels, which provides us with near real-time monitoring of hull integrity.”
“This is not just a matter of safety,” he says. “We have a high utilization rate across the fleet, so taking a vessel out of service to carry out unscheduled steel repairs is bad for business. And because demand for more detailed hull integrity assessments is increasing, Nerves of Steel helps to strengthen the confidence that charterers and insurers have in our organization. We are no longer working with assumptions but with verified data.”
Visualising vessel damage
One focus of the project was to develop a dashboard that enables Altera to visualize hull integrity in real time. “The dashboard has helped us gain a better understanding of the relationship between a vessel’s trading pattern, the weather and hull integrity,” says Fowler. “This allows us to evaluate the consequences of operating in harsh weather environments and at the same time gives us the foresight to make more informed decisions on routing. By potentially limiting our vessel’s exposure to high wave loads, we can quantitively extend the life of the asset for continued shuttle tanker operations, or select a suitable asset for further analysis for conversion.” Nerves of Steel also provides data that helps Altera perform root-cause analysis.
Sensor technologies provide a clearer picture of hull structure
In addition to the basic Nerves of Steel service (indicators) and the digital-twin service (numerical), DNV has also developed a hybrid service which integrates data from on-board sensors. “Using relevant sensors, combined with numerical models and relevant weather data, we can provide an even more accurate picture of hull structure utilization,” says Goncalves. “And in cooperation with Altera Infrastructure, we are developing a reporting tool that makes it easier to share data and exploring how the application of machine-learning algorithms can strengthen the service.”
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