New Marine Technology: The Hallmark of SMM 2000

Wednesday, November 08, 2000
The SMM exhibition in Hamburg has once again proven that it is the cradle of marine technology and the grand-daddy of all marine exhibitions. On display in 12 separate halls were more than 1,300 exhibitors from more than 50 countries, launching new products and discussing business with an estimated 37,000 visitors.

More telling that sheer numbers, in this case, is the feeling of the exhibition and the ubiquitous marine technology theme. The quality of attendee and exhibitor is always high, but this edition of the bi-annual exhibition seemed especially charged due to the many positives currently running throughout the full spectrum of the maritime market. While the show is generally equated more closely with the blue water market, there were some interesting statements from individuals, several claiming that it was indeed the best workboat show in the world.

Following is a synopsis of a whirlwind week of new offerings to make the process of designing, building, owning and operating ships and boats more efficient, cost-effective and with a higher degree of excellence.

Propulsion

Caterpillar and Scana Industrier signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop, produce and distribute on a global basis all MaK propulsion packages (MPP), including MaK engines, Scana gearboxes, propellers and control systems.

MAN B&W meanwhile, has rounded out what it dubs the world's most advanced genset engine program with the introduction of the new L21/31 medium speed design joining MAN B&W's Holeby genset division portfolio. The 210 mm bore, 310 mm stroke design bridges the power gap between the L16/24 and the L27/38, which have already logged more than 600 genset engine sales. The L21/31 is available in 5,6,7,8 and 9 cylinder version, offering an output of 190 kW/cyl. at 900 rpm and 200 kW/cyl. at 1,000 rpm. the engine is poised to slowly replace the L28/32H series.

Innovation, particularly in the area of reducing emissions, has been a core R&D principle for all diesel engine manufacturers, and Wärtsilä is no exception. The company, which has recently re-grouped and re-named under the well-known Wärtsilä banner, has extended its EnviroEngine concept and the Wärtsilä common rail injection system for heavy fuel. The EnviroEngine concept is the area under which new technologies designed to provide Wärtsilä power solutions with an environmentally friendly edge are grouped. Earlier this year, a joint effort between Wärtsilä and Carnival Corp. under the EnviroEngine concept was announced. The project intended to use common rail fuel injection for smokeless operation and to use direct water injection for NOx reduction down to 5 g/kWh.

Subsequently, interest from other owners in the broad realm of emissions control — namely Low-NOx combustion and Compact SCR — have been brought within the scope of the EnviroEngine concept, and it is intended that these technologies will be offered not only on new Wärtsilä engines, but to retrofit existing units.

A well known and highly regarded producer of components for marine diesel engines, Märkisches Werk Halver (MWH) at this year's show introduced its new pitch, "The Gas Exchange Optimizer," which represents the company's from a manufacturer of high quality gas exchange components to cover the entire system and its interactions. MWH's head of marketing, Torsten Ludwig, explained: "At first we are listening to the specific customer needs to find solutions in our portfolio of products and services. We leave the choice to our customers whether they want to purchase individual components, our services or entire systems."

Renk AG of Augsburg was recently awarded an order for the construction of special purpose gear units for four corvette-type MEK A200 navy ships under construction at Blohm + Voss and HDW for the South African Navy. The gear unit system is a novelty, a so-called WARP-propulsion system (WARP=Waterjet and Refined Propeller), which comprises two diesel engines and one gas turbine driving a pair of CP propellers and a centrally arranged waterjet. In contrast to the customary CODAG system, the gas turbine does not transmit power to the CP propellers that are linked with the diesel engines, but to a separate waterjet thus acting as a booster turbine.

An innovator by the name of Voith has apparently struck again, as the company has proven in tank tests that the addition of the Voith Turbo Fin (VTF) results in an 18 percent increase in steering force, which obviously equates to greater safety in the operation of Voith Water Tractors. For years, the Voith Water Tractor has been renowned for its performance in its duties of escorting hazardous goods vessels, having been awarded the rating BAT - Best Available Technology - for tanker escort by Alaska's environmental authorities. A rotating tube at the end of the fin provides a specific boundary layer influence for a flow acting on the ship's hull, and a considerable increase of lift. According to the manufacturer, the relatively inexpensive retrofit can increase steering force up to 18 percent.

Electronics

Jotron Electronics introduced the latest edition to its maritime range in Hamburg, the new GMDSS float free satellite emergency beacon, Tron 40 GPS 406 MHz EPIRB with integrated GPS module. The Tron 40 GPS EPIRB features an integral 12-channel parallel GPS receiver within the compact Tron 40 GPS 406 MHz EPIRB, designed to operation with the COSPAS-SARSAT system. Leica, another name synonymous with quality marine electronics, introduced a new high-performance marine GPS/DGPS receiver designed to provide optimum accuracy and reliability. The new MX 421, powered by IBM's silicon germanium (SiGe) integrated circuit technology, is the first new commercial GPS/DGPS to emerge from a two-year R&D program by Leica and IBM. Gunnar Mangs, Leica's business manager for marine GPS, describes the new unit's advantages: "Field trials have shown that the MX 421 consistently achieves accuracy levels of under three meters in a stand-alone mode, and 0.8 meters when using differential error correction."

In Norway will reside the new company formed from Premas AS of Norway and Satpool AB of Sweden, two companies that have joined forces by establishing a new group of companies focusing on maritime communication and IT. In Norway, Satpool Software Solutions (ex-Premas) will have offices in Aalesund and Moss, while Satpool AB is located in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. "The main reason for joining forces is the obvious synergy creating better possibilities to become a leading international supplier of optimum solutions within Maritime IT and Communication," said Eldar Foss, managing director.

OceanView from C-Map Norway is a new product launched for use in the office environment. It is an electronic chart information system developed to meet the demand for a global marine information system, with its main purpose for the maintenance and easy distribution of various types of geo-referenced information using global coverage of electronic navigational charts. OceanView has recently been installed at IMO headquarters in London, where it is being used as a tool in day-to-day operations.

Cargo Handling

Dubbing it a new era in cargo planning and ship stability software, the formation of Loadmaster International was formerly announced at SMM. The new company is actually the merger of two well-known entities — Sweden's Kockumation AB and the U.S.' Herbert Engineering Corp. — who believe that the new company creates an unmatched knowledge base in cargo planning and ship loading programs.

The two company's flagship products — Loadmaster and Cargomax — enjoy respective excellent reputations and are featured in more than 9,000 installations.

The Bremen operations of Hamworthy KSE's Dry Cargo Handling Division announced several recent contracts for vessels building in Germany, Korea and the U.S. The first to be built by the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard (Hull no. 001) is a 2,600 TEU containership building for the yard's own account. It will feature 32 Hamworthy KSE lift-on/lift-off pontoon hatch covers. The German company's contract calls for the design and delivery of hatch covers weighing about 750 tons, as well as supervision of installation. In Korea at Hyundai Heavy Industries, two 3,300 TEU containerships building for Germany's Bernhard Schulte will feature Hamworthy KSE pontoon hatch covers.

Scana Skarpenord of Norway launched the fifth version of its Cargomaster tank monitoring system at SMM. Based on Windows NT/2000, Cargomaster v. 5 has already been installed and commissioned onboard the chemical carrier Stolt Aquamarine, one of Stolt's K-40 class, which is generally regarded as one of the most complex chemical ships in the world. Built at Daewoo in 1985 and originally fitted with Cargomaster v. 1, the ship features 58 stainless steel cargo tanks.

E-Commerce

The e-commerce side of the marine business has warmed considerably, ironically, as many dot com companies in the consumer sector are struggling for survival amid a crush of new offerings and a cooling on such issues by consumer company investors. Yet companies will continue to service the marine market with innovative solutions designed to save money and speed service, companies such as B2B Netservice Ltd., which introduced its business-to-business Internet platform using the reverse auctioning technique. Beginning this fall, buyers and suppliers of maritime engine spare parts can meet in the Internet using this new platform. mespas.com is designed as a highly specialized platform, addressing itself to an international market of about 8,000 ship operators who have a cumulative 35,000 vessels under flag. The goal: to simplify the procurement of bids by buyers of maritime engine spare parts and, at the same time, to provide suppliers a new sales concept for their products.

A familiar addition to the e-commerce surge is Wärtsilä Corp., which announced a new concept that will allow its engine users to order spare parts directly via the Internet, starting in February 2001. Each engine will have their respective pages, and the site will be tailored to individual owners and operators so that a design and spares parts list is readily available for each and every engine. The move is part of the company's overall strategy to expand e-commerce operations and streamlining overall operations.

Nexus TradeLink is the name of a systems engineering marketplace being established by the Oslo-based MAS Group, designed as a B2B solution offering consulting and turnkey solutions within the field of marine systems engineering. Nexus TradeLink is targeting shipping and offshore engineering and manufacturing companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

Seeking to bring a unified solution to the world's shipyards in a package designed to link the yards, equipment suppliers and ship owners in a broad and comprehensive global network is Tribon Solutions, with its launching of the tribon-com marketplace. The company, former KCS, just a few months ago changed its name to reflect the introduction of this new business concept.

Another project designed to facilitate the flow of information between players is under the aegis of European Marine STEP Association, and at SMM there was a live EMSA demonstration to exchange STEP data between the shipyard HDW, using NAPA Steel and three classification societies (GL, LR and DNV).

Deerberg Systems used a unique cruise aboard the Mississippi Queen to highlight its latest Green Ship Philosophy, as well as several other product and technological developments. Deerberg offers a wide range of support systems, including the design and installation of components, or entire waste management systems, on a turnkey basis. A new idea highlighted by Deerberg Incinerator Alternative (DIA). Designed for smaller ships, the system can also be used to complement an incinerator onboard larger vessels. Deerberg has proven that its system transcends theory as it has landed orders for Waste Management Systems onboard 10 new cruise liners.

In a move designed to foster electronic communications between ship designers and classification societies, ABS and SENER have developed STEP translators for FORAN and ABS SafeHull, respectively, based on the European Marine STEP Association scheme. This means that the entire hull cross section, including all plates, stiffeners and properties created with FORAN, can be automatically entered as input into ABS SafeHull, thus reducing the time for shipyards to comply with ABS rules, paving the way for efficient data transfer and cost reduction from the outset.

A unique pipe coupling systems, which should be of interest to both shipyards and shipowners was on display in Hamburg under the Straub banner. The Straub pipe couplings are unique because, depending on the diameter of the pipes involved, pipes are perfectly joined together in about two minutes without any need to machine the pipe ends first and without any risk of fire through brazing or welding. The simple installation of the maintenance free Straub pipe couplings mean that they can be fitted and serviced by semi-skilled workers quickly and safely. Some notable references for the company include the Fincantieri-built Grand Princess; Royal Olympic's Olympic Voyager; and Vasco da Gama, the world's largest floating dredger.

Bremen shipyard SSW announced a new contract during SMM, comprised of the building of three new 2,500 TEU containerships of the new SSW Super 25 design for Reederei ER Schiffahrt. There are options for an additional seven ships.

In addition, the yard won an approximately $9 million contract for the conversion of a TT-Line passenger ferry, which will encompass reducing the passenger capacity and increasing the cargo capacity of Nils Holgersson.

Schenker has re-launched a special service product for the needs of the global maritime industry: Schenker Marine Parts Service. Schenker's competence center for this upgraded logistics product for spare parts is located in Singapore. Six regional support centers covering Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas guarantee local presence, proximity to the customer and speedy response, 24/7, 365 days a year. The service is a specialized transportation concept, offering ship owners, ship management companies, ship builders and manufacturers a global modular logistics service from door to vessel which aims at substantially reducing costs by way of incorporating Schenker's airfreight time-definite service options, as well as trucking, warehousing, seafreight and value-added services in any combination as required.

"Our upgraded product is an industrial solution for ship spares logistics. Our know-how, coupled with our experience as a logistics provider puts us at a competitive edge.

We are competent in transporting spare parts to all over the world, not only from door to door on the major trade lanes, but also into exotic harbors, off-line destinations, anchorage and even on board a moving vessel," said global product manager Peter Gunzelmann, speaking at SMM.

Drew Marine and Lincoln Electric Europe bv of The Netherlands announced an agreement, which is an alliance to distribute welding electrodes with proven performance in a wide range of common shipboard applications. The electrodes to be supplied under the initial agreement are manufactured by Lincoln's subsidiary, Lincoln Smitweld bv.

Drew Marine will distribute the full Lincoln Smitweld line, including Supra, Universalis and Baso general-purpose electrodes for mild steel; Conarc low-hydrogen electrodes for high-strength steels; and Kyro electrodes for low temperature applications.

Saab Marine Electronics and Onboard-Napa signed a cooperation agreement to use their load computers as standard in all future deliveries. The agreement means that Saab Marine Electronics' customers will benefit from the most advanced computer program vessels.

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