Case Study – Remote control and monitoring of Hall Contracting’s dredging assets

The Eastern Aurora Dredge, currently based in Port Headland, Western Australia

Hall Contracting is Australia’s largest privately-owned dredging, civil and marine construction company and The Fleet Office were contracted to set up a remote monitoring system for their operations.

The first part of the project was to set up the system to remotely monitor the nine engines and pumps on board the Eastern Aurora Dredge, currently based in Port Headland, Western Australia; the second part of the project was to replicate this system for the boost pumps.

We hope you find the below case study insightful, this has been presented in four parts:

  • Logistics of the system for the nine engines and pumps
  • Logistics of the system for the boost pumps
  •  Setting up the remote systems
  • Results of the new remote monitoring systems

Logistics of the system for the nine engines and pumps

Hall Contracting requested that we position an easy to read screen displaying the pressures, temperatures, RPMs and other essential parameters and diagnostics in two different locations on the dredge. This replication of display screens would increase efficiency and safety by making it quick and easy for the crew to notice if something was wrong with any of the engines and pumps.

After discussing the locations with Hall Contracting, the wheelhouse and the engine room were the designated locations on the dredge. Online access however, was also essential so that the Hall Contracting technicians could access the data at their Headquarters in Sippy Downs, Queensland, as well as giving their clients, who in this case were FMG (Fortescue Metals Group), online access as well.

To complete this task, we needed to develop a series of hardware solutions that allowed us to create a CANBus Network (interconnected LANs) that converted the raw data into data that could be read by the crew and technicians for monitoring and diagnostic purposes.

Logistics of the system for the boost pumps

A similar system was set up for the boost pumps, but we also needed to set up a system so that these pumps could be remotely controlled. This required a separate dashboard display that read the boost pumps in line with each other, which was an important feature, because increasing the revs for example, on one boost pump, has a knock on effect to the other pumps. The crew and technicians needed to know instantly, how changes to any one of the pumps affected the other pumps.

Setting up the remote systems

Fitting of the hardware was fairly straightforward, as we used existing ports, where possible, for standard temperature sensors or magnetic pickups. The most complicated fit was with the TPC, but that was expected and resolved quite quickly.

As far as the dashboard display was concerned, this was designed by Hall Contracting and working alongside our programmers, the required parameters to ensure that the engines, pumps and boost pumps were either working correctly or were outside their designated parameters were uploaded.

Results of the new remote monitoring systems

Overall the project has been a phenomenal success and the results have been amazing.

The onboard telemetry on all vessels and equipment is relatively low cost, under a thousand dollars per asset and allows the crew and technicians to know exactly what is going on at any time, 24/7.
All of the data is stored separately, so if there is a significant failure in the engines or pumps this issue will be highlighted to the crew. The dashboard displays the data and parameters before the issue occurred, how long the problem has existed and presents warning alerts when parameters have been exceeded.

We can even send email alerts to the crew, for example: ‘the exhaust manifold on engine three is starting to get hot’. The engineers can then adjust the fuel requisitions to bring the engines more in line with each other, increasing their efficiency, saving on fuel and sharing the weight of the work across the engines, as it was originally designed to do.

If you would like to learn more about this project or to explore how The Fleet Office can offer a tailor made asset management solution for your organisation, please call us on 1300 110 248 or send us an email.

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