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Thursday, August 20, 2020 

UK Engineering company Ricardo has implemented a virtual certification test service, which enables the witnessing agent, customer and its sub-system supplier to observe tests and validate quality checks safely and remotely.

Ricardo’s ‘digital-first’ strategy is enabling the company to offer customers in the marine sector an advanced emissions testing and certification service. IMO Tier III regulations will apply to shipping in the North Sea and Baltic Sea from January 2021. Ricardo worked with Norwegian customer Bertel O Steen Power Solutions to provide a virtual certification service to certify a large marine engine series.

With the engine shipped to Ricardo’s Shoreham Technical Centre, Ricardo provided a suite of IT solutions to streamline the remote certification test process. These included fixed and portable camera technology to enable inspection of the test-cell and the emission measurement system checks, and a comprehensive connection of virtual network connectivity to consolidate multiple systems: the test automation system data display, test-cell live camera, engine management system (EMS) and SCR control sub-system, all of which were orchestrated centrally by the test engineer. In addition, Ricardo team facilitated separate connectivity of the EMS and SCR remotely to Bertel O Steen Power Solutions and its Swedish sub-system supplier to enable effective live monitoring and control of specialised systems by experts in Sweden and Norway.

This enabled the customer, the supplier and independent agent DNV GL to observe the remotely-performed emissions tests and validate quality checks which more usually would be undertaken in person, and participate in the test and certification virtually and safely – without the need for travel.

Ricardo Test Operations director Richard Murphy said: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions could have stopped this certification test completely. Fortunately, Ricardo has considerable experience in virtual certification and with the strong responsive cooperation of Bertel O Steen Power Solutions, we were able to work together to change the whole delivery concept at very short notice. Without adapting to support a remote event it is unlikely that our customer would have been able to certify in the required timeframe with anyone else and may have faced substantial logistical challenges with 7-14 day isolation of staff during any international travel. Although this is our first IMO Tier III certification event, the general requirements are broadly similar for any recent or current global emission standard, so the key deliverables of open, transparent testing, quality data, excellent digital security and a high level of responsiveness, apply to any federal marine testing, European on- and off-highway certification project. We know that the remote accessibility of the Ricardo test facilities is proving increasingly attractive to our customers for more general test operations.”

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