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03.09.2018 | Neuigkeiten

These are the future stars of Maritime 4.0!

MTP-FMI, DDS-OPC UA, Connectivity-Digitalisation

Click to zoom in – These are the future stars! In the marine industry, digital change is establishing communication standards that have already achieved breakthroughs in other sectors (Source Bachmann Electronic)

Plenty of buzzwords these days don’t you think? Are we just getting used to the Industrial Internet of Things IIoT and yet we are confronted with MTP, FMI, DDS and many more? Don’t worry, most of these standards have already been in the market for several years and are well-tested in other industries. Module Type Package (MTP) for example might not sound familiar to the maritime industry yet. But in the process automation industry it is used as a standard and currently it is being adapted by our shipbuilding industry. FMI, Functional Mock-Up Interface, is a standard form of model exchange and co-simulation and well known to users of model-based engineering. FMI is very well suitable for hardware in the loop simulation. DDS, Data Distribution Service, is a fast and scalable connectivity standard for IIoT working together with other protocols like OPC Unified Architecture.

Why are these standards from other business sectors of interest to the maritime and offshore industry? Because using these technologies safes time in engineering, offers cost benefits, makes a fast solution possible, offers reliability now and in the future – and all this thanks to their exchangeability. How? Interfaces of different functions and functionalities are standardised. If you need a separator from GEA or a gearbox from Reintjes or from one of their competitors, the interface of these systems is described according to the standard. This makes it possible to use different systems and just import and export the functionality and the graphics.

Where is the benefit for the shipowner? The shipowner can ask to use the standards and thus become less hardware dependent. He or she can select the best winch for the job, choose the most suitable gearbox for a ship and select the generator which fits the available size and environment norms or best delivery time. Maybe more importantly, he can select based upon the best return on investment. No more discussion on additional integration costs since the connectivity is covered in the standard.

What is the benefit for shipyards? An operator in a shipyard can describe not only the exact functionality he or she expects but can also exactly describe how it should be implemented in the control system and in the alarm and condition monitoring system. This makes it possible to use simulators and test parts of the ship even without having the real unit available. The quality will improve while the commissioning time will fall rapidly. Less untested systems lead to fewer surprises, faster delivery of ships, more capacity and higher profits at the the yard.

What is the benefit for the system integrator? The manufacturer will supply a tested system with a standard graphic and interface package. The system integrator uses the import functionality of his standard platform and the tested system is available. No need for changes or development of the software. Reduced programming time, reduced commissioning time, lower risk, less programming, best-case just parametrising, fewer meetings with suppliers thanks to standardised interfaces, cost optimisation because double programming from control tasks and mimics or graphics is no longer necessary. Faster to the final solution, thanks to improved efficiency, gives more time for more projects. Project costs will sink, giving the system integrator an advantage during tendering.

How will OEMs benefit? The knowhow of their product stays within the company; there is no need to share details, only the interface and mimics. There is no more extra adaptation to customer-specific interfaces because interfacing is realised on a higher, standardised level. The OEM can therefore focus on its competence and best buy in a project rather than on other nonrelated topics such as interfacing with a ship’s automation system. Why should an automation supplier offer these standards? The competence is with the OEM or the shipyard. Offering standards opens up the market without the need for domain knowledge. What does Bachmann Electronic offer? A standard is like learning a different language. The M1 system is based on modern hardware and software standards with one common character: industrial! Eventually our customers choose which new technologies Bachmann should implement and which they want to implement themselves because this is now possible with a modern and flexible hard- and software platform.