Show Review 2017

Marine Maintenance World Expo Conference returns to Amsterdam for second successful year

Marine Maintenance World Expo and Conference (MMWE), which was once again staged alongside Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo at the RAI Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 6-8 June, has been heralded by visitors, delegates, exhibitors and speakers alike as an extremely valuable, informative and rewarding event of huge value to anyone interested in discovering the latest industry innovations, user experiences, case studies and best practices.

The 2017 conference boasted more than 40 expert speakers representing asset owners, classification societies, academia and leading suppliers, while the surrounding exhibition provided attendees with an intimate opportunity to discover, test and review a wide range of exciting new maintenance technology applications first hand, covering everything from the industry’s first collision-tolerant inspection drone, through to the latest intuitive condition monitoring software, as well as a wide range of maintenance and repair solutions designed with increased efficiency and fleet availability in mind.

Conference highlights

The conference began early on Tuesday 6 June with a well-attended breakfast networking event, and then it was straight down to business with an opening session focused on intelligent ship technology, IoT and big data analytics.

The first speaker, Simon Jagers, founder of Semiotic Labs, Netherlands, grabbed everyone’s attention with his prediction that the industry can look forward to 0% downtime in just five to 10 years. “Unplanned downtime of induction-motor-driven systems is costly,” said Jagers. “With 7% of induction motors failing on a yearly basis, shipping industry costs are in the billions of dollars when it comes to downtime of radar devices, propulsion systems, HVAC systems and other electric motor-powered critical systems.”

Jagers went on to explain how Semiotic Labs has developed a proprietary sensor and algorithms that can predict when and why motor-driven applications fail, up to 12 months in advance. “We are currently implementing the solution on several ships in a large-scale POC.”

The next speaker, Dr Hao Wang, associate professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, chose to highlight the concerns surrounding data ownership and intellectual property.

“Vessel builders are installing sensors for different components, which provide more accurate and timely data on the status of marine systems,” explained Wang. “This development has been strengthened by the quick development of the new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) paradigm. Analytics results of the monitoring data support diagnosis of vessels, prediction for maintenance needs, and allocation of maintenance facilities and resources, especially for vessels operating in different international locations.”

“However, I just want to remind people of the importance of safety, security, privacy, as well as ponder how best to address the challenges surrounding data ownership. I’d like to see more openness, overall. A second point I feel strongly about is software certification – this is also very important for safety.”

Wang examined how best to explore and communicate data to domain experts, to avoid information overload: “You need to communicate data effectively and efficiently in a way that is most helpful to the marine industry, by identifying the root cause behind multiple alert messages, for example.”

With this in mind, Wang’s Big Data Lab at NTNU, in collaboration with local industries, has developed a new visual analytics framework, covering data processing, decision support and visualisation.

The morning session also saw seasoned presenter Danny Shorten – now managing director of Optimain Ltd, having previously been a maintenance management services product manager with Lloyd’s Register – discuss the need for “fleet diagnostics from a bottom-up basis”, and examine the challenges of managing large amounts of new information.

“One of the directions in which modern maintenance practices in marine are moving is the increasing demand for input from expert stakeholders beyond the boundaries of the shipping company,” said Shorten. “As more detailed data about assets is created, there is a growing need to understand the increasingly vast data and information flow. To effectively manage a ship’s assets, you will need to aggregate the internal knowledge created by the operational teams, the design and operational knowledge of the original equipment manufacturers, and also the expert skills of one or more independents such as the lube oil supplier, the vibration analysis provider, and the ultrasonic and thermal imaging analysts.

“The best-practice control processes to emerge will increasingly require external experts who can effectively blend all that expertise, filter out less valuable data and work within an enterprise of competence to inform the fleet management about performance and further opportunities for optimisation, and then go on to buffer this data to provide useful actionable advice for superintendents and eventually the crew to enact.”

Another leading light, Marco Cristoforo Camporeale, general manager, health management solutions, Rolls-Royce Marine, demonstrated how his company’s health and energy management solutions can enhance performance reliability, lifecycle efficiency, safety and cost predictability by harnessing the power of big data.

“Rolls-Royce is able to provide predictive and preventative maintenance solutions, thereby improving asset availability and keeping customers’ vessels on schedule,” said Camporeale. “Rolls-Royce is also developing the next generation of diagnostics and optimisation technology based on machine learning, further exploiting big data. Rolls-Royce is leveraging these technologies and partnering with the customer in a new operating model designed to share operational risks and reduce the lifecycle cost of ownership.”

Camporeale also echoed earlier calls for greater data sharing and more considered data reporting to reduce information overload. “We need to develop technology that allows reliable condition monitoring not only of one specific manufacturer’s equipment, but multiple manufacturers, but in a way that reduces the ‘noise’ of the entire system,” he said.

“This is going to be much more attractive to customers who do not really want to deal with multiple suppliers. Finally, whatever technology we build for condition monitoring, we need to ensure it takes account of the actual operational profile – only by monitoring the two together can you make accurate forecasts regarding time to failure – and that is where the real value lies.”

The first morning’s session finished with a panel discussion that saw a lively debate on exactly how best to enable a data-smart future for marine maintenance. The afternoon’s dedicated ‘Innovative Inspection Approaches’ session that followed provided an excellent platform to gauge the opportunities offered by exciting new robot and drone solutions.

The second day of the Marine Maintenance World Expo Conference continued to focus on new technology, with the opportunities offered by condition-based maintenance (CBM) given special attention.

This saw a dedicated ‘Data-Driven Maintenance’ session span the second morning of Marine Maintenance World Expo Conference, with vendors and asset owners sharing best practice and illustrating their practical findings to date.

David Chaderton, lead technical specialist, GE Energy Connections, revealed how the principles of condition-based monitoring and remote diagnostics can be extended to naval applications, considering the challenges of data security and organisational culture.

“Early warnings can be raised when an asset is exhibiting an off-standard behaviour, identifying potential problems before they occur,” noted Chaderton. “Therefore, operators and maintainers can take action weeks or even months before a potential failure. This enables them to switch from planned to condition-based maintenance, potentially reducing downtime and creating significant cost savings. This technology enables access to real-time insight, enabling onshore equipment experts, no matter where they are in the world, to remotely diagnose problems and promptly advise on next steps.”

An extremely insightful case study was provided by Danielle Lammens, maintenance excellence manager, Exmar Shipmanagement NV, Belgium, and Kristof Bresseleers, maintenance and reliability consultant, Allied Reliability Group, Belgium, regarding the joint development of a condition-driven maintenance strategy built on a better understanding of how equipment functions and the failure modes that result in functional failure.

“Typically, the balance between preventive maintenance (PM) and condition-based maintenance is not correct in most maintenance schemes,” noted Bresseleers. “This imbalance creates a higher cost of maintenance and lower levels of reliability than is acceptable, and certainly not what is expected.”

The CBM focus resumed in the afternoon with a dedicated ‘Data-Driven Maintenance – The Class Perspective’ conference session, which saw a frank exchange of views between experts from Lloyd’s Register, UK; ABS, the Netherlands, DNV GL, Norway; and ClassNK, UK.

“Continual advances in condition monitoring, communications and data processing are changing the relationship between owners and class societies,” commented Matt Smith, lead machinery specialist investigations, fleet services, Lloyd’s Register Marine & Offshore.

“This opens up more and varied ways in which organisations can work together to reduce the maintenance and survey burden, while ensuring the safety and reliability of vessels remains at the highest possible levels.”

Exhibition highlights

Meanwhile, visitors in search of the latest CBM tools were treated to some exciting new product launches and innovations in the conference’s neighbouring exhibition.

James Fisher Mimic (JFM) displayed its latest intelligent condition monitoring and vessel efficiency software via its flagship product, Mimic, which provides vessel owners and operators with live decision-making data relating to asset condition and operational efficiency.

“Data from Mimic can help you optimise your maintenance, improve asset performance and avoid costs associated with off-hire, intrusive breakdown maintenance and insurance claims,” said Alan Nicholls, software development manager, JFM.

The company also used Marine Maintenance World Expo and Conference to launch its latest innovation – a dedicated asset efficiency software module. “This is a new feature in our Mimic product range, which enables us to monitor not only the condition of the ship, but also the efficiency of its operation, to help realise substantial savings by improving overall efficiency to ensure less fuel is used, for example,” said Nicholls.

SDT International reported strong interest in its LUBExpert, a unique solution to an often-misunderstood maintenance task on board ships: bearing re-lubrication. “LUBExpert combines SDT’s strong measurement capabilities and a clever, easy-to-use operator interface to create an onboard lubrication assistant to help you use the correct amount of grease,” explained Walter Vervloesem, marine applications manager, SDT International.

With only a few machine parameters, LUBExpert monitors each grease gun and its effect on bearing friction and temperature both before and after, with bearing conditions reported with a ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘suspect’ status report.

“The system monitors and measures the friction inside the bearing and will tell you how much grease is to be applied in order to achieve optimum lubrication, without any risk of over greasing or under greasing, thereby extending service life and enabling improved maintenance planning.”

Meanwhile, Dutch company LG Sonic was on hand to explain its latest project with the Royal Netherlands Navy, for which it is currently installing its ultrasound technology on three naval vessels to prevent the growth of biofouling.

“Biofouling growth increases the drag on a hull, which can cause a ship to consume up to 40% more fuel and correspondingly produce 40% more CO₂ emissions,” explained LG Sonic’s CEO, Yousef Yousef. “The marine industry globally spends billions of dollars in addressing fouling, using a variety of protection methods such as coatings. The disadvantage of using these coatings is that they can either be harmful for the environment, expensive and/or ineffective.”

To provide an environmentally friendly and effective solution to these problems, LG Sonic has developed a new technology to prevent the growth of biofouling by using specific ultrasonic parameters. “The solution is to deploy multiple systems that transmit ultrasonic waves of specific frequencies throughout the ship’s hull in order to prevent and control biofouling,” added Yousef.

“The ultrasonic generating transmitters are built into the hull to avoid interference – and the system uses low-DC cables rather than high-AC cables. We also adjust the design of the transmitters based on the material of the ship. We believe we can help the Navy achieve a 5% fuel saving as a result.”

Perhaps the most eye-catching new product was on display on Flyability’s stand. The company was in a prime position next to the conference to wow delegates with live demonstrations of Elios – the industry’s first collision-tolerant flying robot designed for marine inspection of areas previously too dangerous or simply impossible to reach.

“Inspection of ships’ ballast tanks for general integrity, corrosion status, as well as the monitoring of the anodes within the ballast usually requires three to four workers and extensive safety equipment such as gas- and oxygen-monitoring detectors, ropes, flashlights and harnesses,” commented Patrick Thevoz, co-founder and CEO, Flyability.

“Flying in complex and pitch-black, confined spaces, Elios has demonstrated its capacity to deliver a quicker and safer method to inspect these tanks. The robot’s collision tolerance allows navigating safely in contact with the structures, rolling on the walls when required. The onboard LEDs require no external lighting.”

Positive response

Once again visitors were keen to emphasise the value of the show, praising its dedicated focus, convenient location and opportunities to do business. “There’s a good mix of people here – owners, equipment sellers, the academic community, the classification societies and independents like myself,” said Danny Shorten, managing director, Optimain Ltd, UK. “This is my fourth time and the scope and scale of the event has improved every year.”

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Future Show: Marine Maintenance World Expo 2019, 25-27 June 2019, Hall 11, RAI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Future Show: Marine Maintenance World Expo 2020, 23-25 June 2020, Hall 11, RAI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands