At SMM in Hamburg, Voith displayed a functional model of the new vessel propulsion control system for Voith Schneider Propellers and Voith Radial Propellers. The new system is designed to offer various new electronic control and assistance features including faster actuation and more precise control of the propulsion systems, remote diagnostics via the internet and communication through a range of interfaces. The new control system will be supplied for the first time in the last quarter of 2012 and will be available as a series product from mid-2013 onwards. Voith for the first time developed the entire control system in-house. This comprehensive solution is underlined by the uniform Voith design of the bridge components: Joystick, steering wheel and propulsion control lever were developed in cooperation with Stuttgart University taking into account ergonomic characteristics. Voith already has a successful record of cooperation with the university during previous projects such as the Voith Radial Propeller since the Stuttgart University degree course "Design" requires a degree in engineering. This ensures that the focus is not just on esthetic and haptic aspects but also on optimum handling as well as on functional issues.
To monitor the propulsion units, the new control system records all data as well as faults. Monitoring can be done from the bridge as well as from the machine or propeller room. In addition, the new electronic control and assistance features lower the fuel consumption of the propulsion units. The control features can be tested on Voith's own vessel simulator. Communication is via interfaces such as CAN bus, Modbus TCP/IP, Modbus RTU, Profibus DP or NMEA.
(As published in the November 2012 edition of Maritime Reporter - www.marinelink.com)