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Tuesday, November 19, 2019 

Dutch maritime system integrator RH Marine has developed an automation network that uses a new on-board cloud infrastructure, which is said to need less hardware, be more flexible and simplify updates and repairs.

The technology was originally developed for the Royal Dutch Navy, driven by the need for more efficient use of manpower and more efficient maintenance. The growing role for automation and the proliferation of onboard computers has led to a growing need for integration. RH Marine has addressed the problem by attempting to remove hard links between applications and specific hardware, sharing computing power and using more similar hardware components.

As a result of two years of R&D, RH Marine has launched its Integrated Virtualized System Architecture (IVSA), inspired by cloud- technology. The system provides an on-board computer network to which applications for the bridge, engine room, CCTV, Alarm Monitoring and Control System (ACMS) or power management systems can be connected.

Marcel Vermeulen, portfolio manager, RH Marine said: “Due to the virtualised technology the software runs on the server, not on numerous computers. Instead of let’s say 40 computers and dozens of stacked servers you only need a few servers. Every screen you plug in to connect with the LAN-network becomes a workstation. That can be on the bridge, in the engine room or every other selected spot on the vessel. On every workstation you can do everything”.

Among the claimed benefits are that in case of workstation failure, all software applications are immediately operational on another station. Failed or obsolete hardware components are replaced without downtime or impact on applications running. By using IVSA a general infrastructure with a few servers is delivered early in the design and sensors can be added without impact on the installed infrastructure, saving on cabling.

The system can be retrofitted - RH Marine is able to upgrade or adapt the bridge without any extreme modifications. The system on a new naval vessel has received MED certification, and is undergoing classification by Bureau Veritas.

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