SKF unveils software to optimise fin stabiliser operation

2018-09-15T09:20:23+00:00 September 15th, 2018|Technology|

SKF has launched new software to improve a vessel’s energy efficiency when fin stabilisers are in use on cruise ships and ferries.

The company unveiled the software at SMM, which is aimed at optimising the deployment of retractable and non-retractable fin stabilisers based on weather conditions and retrospective ship’s movement analyses.
SKF’s new EcoMode software allows up to three additional modes of fin stabiliser operations, each designed to optimise a vessel’s energy consumption commensurate with prevailing sea conditions.

Fin stabilisers help reduce a vessel’s rolling movement thereby improving passenger comfort and enhancing the level of cargo restraint.

When not required, retractable fin stabilisers are housed in a fin box. However, during use they create drag, thereby increasing the vessel’s fuel consumption.

Normally, this type of fin stabilisers are either retracted or fully extended. Non-retractable fin stabilisers, on the other hand, are permanently extended, thereby creating drag but requiring less space inside the vessel.
SKF’s new EcoMode software provides up to three additional modes of operation to cope with varying levels of ship movement and sea swells. Each mode ensures optimised energy efficiency commensurate with sea conditions, while still ensuring a safe passage.

The software delivers real time recommendations – ‘passive’, where both fins are swivelled out of the fin box but not in a moving (eg zero) position; ‘single fin operation’, where one fin is retracted and the other is extended and operating (to avoid uneven wear in this mode, starboard and portside fins are used alternately); ‘reduced operating mode’, where the working angle of the fins is reduced based on a ship’s specific settings.
For non-retractable fin stabilisers the software provides real time recommendations in two modes – ‘passive’ and ‘reduced operating mode’.

Both the drag and the hydraulic energy required for operation are reduced in all of the settings.
A control panel with new energy cockpit is installed on the bridge and in the engine room. EcoMode software settings can be adapted individually, for example allowing the crew to accept or decline the software’s recommendations – no further programming or adjustment from the crew is required.

In the event of no response from the crew and the current sea conditions persist, the system will issue a reminder after a defined period of time. New operating modes activate instantly on acceptance of the recommendation by the crew.

Using the software can reduce a ship’s fuel consumption by up to 2%, SKF claimed. It is available for newbuilds and can also be retrofitted to all SKF fin stabilisers, as well as third party stabilising systems.

 “SKF helped us implement the new SKF EcoMode software on one of our vessels in April, 2018. We expect that the solution will support our crew in making smarter, eco-friendly decisions, while reducing our OPEX. We’ve already had very positive feedback from our crew: not only was the solution easy to implement, but it is also simple to use,” said  Jacob Johannesen, Newbuilding and Major Conversions Project Manager at DFDS.