Super-yachts turn to industrial SCADA for reliability, safety and passenger comfort systems
Modern luxury yachts are fitted with a huge number of electrical systems and Italian company Uniproget is using Progea’s Movicon industrial automation technology to integrate them into one simple-to-use system. Natalie Turner, Sales Director at Progea’s UK distributor Products4Automation (P4A), looks at how personal comfort and safety is ensured in a demanding luxury living environment.
For over a quarter of a century Uniproget has been advancing the state of the art in marine automation and since 2011 has used Progea’s Movicon 11 industrial SCADA for projects that require top quality graphics and connectivity to a wide range of on-board systems and equipment. This enduring partnership is exemplified by their work in fitting out a 75m super-luxury yacht at the Admiral shipyard in Marina di Carrara, near La Spezia on the north west coast of Italy.
A typical project will see Uniproget design and install a system that integrates power generation; propulsion and engine management; navigation and communications; environmental and comfort systems; plumbing and freshwater management; fridge, freezer and galley (kitchen) systems; firefighting, safety systems and emergency alarms. In most vessels all systems can be monitored via touchscreens from the bridge; engineering systems usually have primary controls in the engine room; and comfort systems have local controls in the passenger areas.
As well as hardware, Uniproget designs bespoke control software and graphics for the user interface screens. This includes creating an intuitive graphics screen page for each of the hundreds of devices distributed throughout the vessel. For example, simple screens will be used to set the ventilation and lighting in a yacht’s staterooms. Other screens will show the captain, chief engineer and appropriate crew members operating conditions and provide an up-to-the-minute overview of important data.
Usually the main page displays a realistic engine dashboard with which the captain and chief engineer can monitor how the propulsion and related systems are working. This page will be available to the captain on the bridge, at the chief engineer’s workstation and on repeater screens in their cabins. The chief engineer’s dashboard will be interactive and touch-sensitive, but the captain’s is likely to be non-interactive. This guarantees that only the chief engineer addresses technical issues and leaves the captain free to concentrate on sailing and navigation.
While every project is different, the systems architecture for the Marina di Carrara super-yacht can be considered as representative of the overall concept. It is based upon a Schneider PAC with two hot backup PLCs, an Ethernet ring network and I/O distributed around remote control stations. Progea supervision software is installed on two 24in panel PCs, one on the bridge, the other in the engine room. The bridge PC is also used for navigation, while the engine room’s hosts power and propulsion management systems.
There are also 24in box PCs on the bridge and in the engine room providing control of the passenger-related systems such as aircon and emergency alarms. Small 5.7in graphic information panels are located at various points in the passenger accommodation. More screens about the whole yacht are used for functions such as heating control, entertainment and, importantly, for alarm repetition.
The system’s distributed architecture minimises the amount of electric cabling needed, which reduces installation costs and simplifies maintenance. The hot backup, Ethernet and double redundancy servers all contribute to making the system safe, robust and secure.
The Movicon 11 SCADA platform has proved to be reliable and able to cope with life at sea. It is extremely easy to configure and use, graphically advanced and – importantly – offers a quality-price ratio that is hard to beat. It has also proved easy to adapt as user-requirements change.
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