Remote control

Jon Lawson

Dave Hammond presents a remote access condition monitoring solution for marine gensets

By installing an eWON VPN router and using the Talk2M internet-based remote access system, a manufacturer of marine generating sets is now able to securely monitor and report on the condition of its diesel-electric generating sets, located onboard an oil platform supply vessel, via a cellular (3G internet) connection.

The generating sets are installed in the engine room of the ship and are critical assets, as they are responsible for supplying power to all onboard electrical systems including lighting, heating and the ship’s thrust motors. With the eWON Talk2M solution provided by MAC Solutions, as the vessel moves back to within 3G range of the coast, the manufacturer’s engineers can download the condition monitoring data – such as torsional vibration, thermal and power quality data – remotely from the gensets. Any abnormal or unusual events in the data can be identified quickly, investigated by the engineers and reported to the customer. The cost of the solution is more than offset by eliminating the need for service engineer call-outs to the vessel, which also prevents any costly disruptions or delays for the vessel operator.

Prior to investing in the new solution, the genset manufacturer would need to send a service engineer to the vessel, wherever it was located in the world, to manually upload condition monitoring data from the generating sets. Not only was this costly, but also very time consuming, when uploading weeks or months of condition monitoring data.

On the oil rig supply vessel, an eWON VPN router is installed on the inside of the exhaust stack, as this location provided the most effective 3G signal. The eWON is connected to the genset manufacturer’s own data acquisition system for the gensets. When the ship comes back towards the coast and within 3G range, the genset manufacturer can upload the data that its system has been logging since the last upload. This provides the company with a fast, efficient and cost effective means of baselining (setting alarms and triggers) the data coming off the gensets, which is particularly important in the first few days and weeks of installing new marine gensets.

Secure, mobile and modular

According to the genset manufacturer, eWON Talk2M was the most suitable solution, as it provides a two-way communications system that is cost effective but also secure, modular and mobile. The genset manufacturer can now communicate with the equipment onboard the vessel as if one of its service engineers were sitting there right next to the equipment with a laptop.

eWON Talk2M is an internet-based remote access support and diagnostics service, available in the UK through industrial data communications company MAC Solutions. The software offers a professional platform with all the security, reliability and traceability required by industrial and marine applications. Talk2M is a secure and affordable service that enables OEMs, machine builders and systems integrators to provide remote maintenance, support and diagnostics for machines in remote locations or onboard marine vessels. It can be accessed anywhere in the world, using secure broadband and other secure wireless connections.

The router installed on the oil platform supply vessel is an eWON 2005CD industrial-grade router with dual LAN/modem connectivity. As well as being equipped with an ethernet port, the router also has a SIM card that enables the genset manufacturer to access its equipment via a 3G cellular network.

The new solution provides another important differentiator for the genset manufacturer. Once it is installed, the genset manufacturer can evaluate the application, investigate the condition monitoring data, pass regular reports to the customer, and analyse the data itself to consider future improved equipment designs.

Dave Hammond is with MAC Solutions.