Vessel Automation
Centralized supervision, control and automation systems

Vessel Automation

Effective and efficient ship operation

GE’s Power Conversion business is a leader in knowledge and expertise in the field of marine and offshore electrical and control engineering and applies this experience to offer customized ship monitoring and automation solutions based on a flexible, modular, distributed architecture.

As part of GE's core solutions for the marine and offshore industries, GE’s latest C-Series Vessel Control System (VCS) provides full remote supervisory control and monitoring of all ship systems. A distributed system based on a high speed, redundant Ethernet network, the VCS integrates individual ship’s sub-systems and unifies them in a unified and coherent system:

  • Machinery/auxiliary machinery monitoring and control
  • Power management
  • Fluids management

GE's system is adapted for a wide range of applications throughout the naval, offshore and merchant marine industry. Installations have included fixed platforms, supply vessels, cruise liners, FPSOs, tankers, drill rigs, cable & pipe layers, and LNG carriers, providing control and monitoring functions for systems which combine a relatively low I/O count of just a few hundred plant signals, up to more complex applications with several thousand I/O points.

At GE we believe that “standard” is not enough. GE begin with proven standard hardware and software modules and we add GE’s smart engineering on a case by case basis. It is this custom engineered solution that brings together reliable standard modules along with project specific engineering to create systems with high safety standards, efficient, reliable and affordable.

Included within GE's Vessel Control Systems family of products we offer GE's C-Bridge system. A modern bridge is a highly sophisticated environment in which electronic systems play a vital role in the control and evaluation of various elements of equipment relating to safe and efficient vessel operations.

There is a trend for various independent elements of electronic equipment to have common needs such as shared interfaces with other sub-systems. These interfacing challenges cannot be left to chance, and cannot be permitted to result in the multitude of equipment suppliers being asked to resolve critical issues of disputed responsibility and functionality. Often this vital stage is reached long after final designs are approved and implemented.

Another risk on the electronic bridge is that of equipment from various suppliers being allocated into the available space on a, sometimes, seemingly random basis. One risk with this ad hoc approach to design integration is that it will be at the expense of an optimized bridge layout and may compromise functionality.

C-Bridge is a cost effective solution in which GE takes on the role of bridge integrators and works to engineer an optimum bridge environment to enhance safety, coherence, and elegance based on their C-Bridge consoles.

In data management and response, GE’s Insight Management System provides operators and senior staff (afloat and onshore) with a powerful graphical, video and audio based global view over any operational situation. The system provides a top level overview of major processes such as navigation, positioning, machinery and ship specific processes such as drilling, production, cargo etc, and has the functionality to drill down to the detailed information when required.

The Insight management system solves the problem of data overload and disseminates operational data to key stakeholders, afloat and onshore, ensuring proper management of routine operations and critical incidents.

Integrated vessel wide control, monitoring and automation for efficiency and operational effectiveness

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) polar supply and research vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, is exceptionally versatile serving as a tanker, cargo carrier, passenger ship, research vessel, helicopter carrier and an icebreaker. Such versatility requires systems and subsystems tailored for broad functionality while retaining role specific features.

The ship is outfitted with GE’s transformerless power/propulsion, dynamic positioning, and vessel automation solution including two induction propulsion motors, each 4.5MW – 140rpm supplied by its MV7000 converters.  Multi drive architecture enables the propulsion converters to supply the side thrusters’ motors. This increases efficiency and availability of the propulsive chain, space and weight savings, reduced footprint, and lower maintenance time and costs.

Automation of plant and machinery is handled by GE’s C-Series Vessel Control System comprising the power management system (PMS), the centralized power plant and alarms management, and the ship, machinery and auxiliary systems. The distributed I/O, dual redundant ethernet networked system helps ensure efficient centralized control under all circumstances. The C-Series system integrates seamlessly with the power generation, propulsion and automation system to harness propulsion power and precisely position the ship in the execution of its many roles.

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