FORCE Technology has initiated a new and exciting development of our fuel-saving onboard systems. The development will offer ship operators significant savings and operational knowledge.

Today, FORCE Technology offers three stand-alone modules under the brand name SeaSuite: SeaTrim for selection of optimum trim, SeaPlanner for fuel-efficient route planning and SeaTrend for performance monitoring. The modules in SeaSuite is integrated so data gathered in e.g. SeaPlanner can be utilized by either SeaTrim or SeaTrend. 

SeaPlanner provides the ship’s officers with the speed needed in order for the ship to reach its destination on time, given the weather conditions. SeaTrim utilizes data on the most favourable trim for the given displacement and speed, and SeaTrend monitors the fouling state and can thereby estimate how much extra power is needed to maintain the requested speed. With this sharing of data, SeaPlanner is now able to determine if the arrival time is ok, and what the total fuel consumption will be.

Evaluation of engine performance

It is important to know the state of the engine. So besides integrating the modules, a new add-on engine module have be developed. The engine module utilizes data from the different engine components and can give automatic recommendations on when to change components. Only the very latest engines already have monitoring systems, so the majority of ship engines in operation do not have this. Monitoring the development in specific engine values makes it possible to keep the engine in a better running condition, thus avoiding costly repairs and lay-up time.

Fouling of propeller and hull significantly increases fuel consumption.
Fouling of propeller and hull is difficult to properly assess. 

Next generation software

The development of SeaSuite is driven by an increasing demand for a smarter and more integrated solution. Today’s market for onboard systems is characterised by many vendors offering single-problem solutions without the possibility of interacting with other solutions. With increasing fuel prices and the present technical possibilities, these kinds of solutions will surely be a thing of the past within the next couple of years. ‘The trend is going towards increased data sharing and utilisation of knowledge gained from other applications,’ explains Sven Dyrdal, Team Leader for Onboard Systems at FORCE Technology, and Project Manager on the development of SeaSuite.‘We have evaluated the market and the technical possibilities, and we can honestly say that we were surprised to discover how few companies actually offer more than one service within decision support onboard systems – and we were even more surprised to learn that none of these offered integration and sharing of data in order to maximise savings on fuel consumption,’ says Sven Dyrdal.

Therefore, FORCE Technology has initiated the development of a fully integrated system with the freedom for the clients to pick only one module or utilise the advantages of adding more modules. The most obvious advantage to the customers is the enhanced and automated use of cross-platform data exchange. The officers will avoid having to note, evaluate and transfer data manually between stand-alone systems. It will happen automatically. The data capturing will have a flexible, but most often higher, degree of automation built in, thus making the data feed more consistent, more frequent and less dependent on the quality of interpretations by individuals.

Near-to-market development

The development of SeaSuite is made in close cooperation with the Danish shipowning companies J. Lauritzen Bulkers, Nordic Tankers, Evergas and Uni-Tankers and with assistance from the Technical University of Denmark. By adding knowledge and input directly from some of the clients, FORCE Technology ensures the quality and relevance of SeaSuite. Besides working closely together with the clients, FORCE Technology is allocating 10 specialists within hydro- and aerodynamics, engine performance and software development to the development of SeaSuite. The initial development of SeaSuite will be finalised in the third quarter of 2014 and is followed up by a test period at sea.