In its latest push to develop so-called smart ships, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), one of the world’s largest shipowners, has teamed up with compatriot shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to work on technologies that enhance vessel reliability and energy-saving operations by an enhanced vessel steering gear with new sensing capabilities and big data analysis.
The project focuses on control of the steering gear. A new system will be installed on a very large crude carrier (VLCC), which is under construction at KHI and slated for delivery to MOL. It is intended to develop KHI-made steering gear equipped with sensors that monitor pressure, flow rate, temperature of hydraulic oil, consumed power and so on, and high-speed data acquisition systems. The high-speed data acquisition system collects not only data from the steering gear, but also other types of data, such as vessel speed, course, engine load and rudder angle, during a voyage. In-depth analysis of this data will lead to improvements in vessel reliability and energy-saving operation. The project is expected to complete by the end of March 2021.