Standby power for marine applications

Paul Boughton

How UPS are proving their worth in the marine sector, reports Marcus Edgar

Electronic equipment, such as navigation, bridge and communication systems, depends upon a reliable source of uninterruptible power to ensure the safety of marine vessels and offshore installations. UPS Systems specialises in supplying marine-approved uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to the industry, ensuring critical systems are maintained in the event of mains power loss.

Since 2009, UPS Systems has worked closely with Marine Electrical Installations (MEI), in Glasgow, Scotland. MEI offers mechanical and electrical engineering services for a range of marine applications, including the new build, refit and refurbishment of offshore oil and gas rigs, cruise ships, ferries and tankers worldwide.

One recent project saw MEI’s customer, a global oil and gas company, requesting the refit of several UPS on part of its oil and gas tanker fleet. UPS Systems provided technical advice and equipment that met the specific requirements of the marine industry. When MEI specified its requirements, several factors had to be taken into account when choosing the right system, including: shape; size; weight; and stability during sea conditions.

Providing standby power for computer-based electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) was the primary use for the UPS. This crucial electronic equipment is used by vessels to provide continuous position and navigational safety information. It also alerts personnel to navigational hazards. Position, heading and speed are integrated with electronic navigational charts (ENC) or digital nautical charts (DNC), while radar and automatic identification systems (AIS) may also be interfaced and displayed by ECDIS.

The best solution

During 2014, UPS Systems supplied MEI with 25 UPS for installation in maritime vessels and offshore installations. Each vessel was equipped with three DNV Type Approved Eaton 9130M 1000VA UPS, along with marine electronic noise filters, mounting kits and vibration absorbers.

Eaton is a leading provider of standby power systems to the marine and oil and gas industries. Its 9130 marine UPS models are both DNV and ABS type-approved. This means they are specifically adapted to meet the challenging marine environment in which sensitive electrical equipment is required to operate. The hardened mechanical compact tower UPS design provided easy installation for the ships’ electricians. Positioning the UPS securely was aided by mounting rails, allowing the units to be bolted or welded to the deck/bulk head or shelf.

Electronic ‘noise’ can lead to severe disruption to radio and other sensitive electronic equipment. Onboard alternators, ignition systems and running motors can cause this type of interference, which may result in garbled images on visual display units and static noise on audio equipment and radios. Specialised filters supplied with the UPS were used to prevent electronic interference.

Successful results

The UPS were installed aboard several large oil tankers to provide a continuous source of back-up power in the event of a power failure. The systems ensured that essential electronic equipment, particularly the ECDIS navigation systems, remained online and operational at all times.

Marcus Edgar represents UPS systems.

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