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Modernised HMI equipment on a multi-purpose ship 

As the Wilhelmshaven Water and Shipping Authority's flagship, the "Mellum" plays a critical role in protecting the North Sea. The monitoring system that is currently in place, involves the use of both airborne and seaborne craft. Marine pollution data is first recorded by a turboprop-powered Dornier aircraft and then immediately relayed to the "Mellum". This means that protective measures and pollution control measures can be devised and implemented directly, without ever needing to return to dry land. IT, network and operating solutions for technical systems on board the ship are regularly updated with the latest technology. As a part of the modernisation work, explosion-protected panel PCs for HMI functions below deck were also to be installed.

Modernised HMI equipment

When changing over to a new HMI concept, it was important to consider that the new system had to be compatible not just with current requirements, but also with existing plans for new equipment and upgrades, plus any foreseeable changes to this equipment in the future. Until now, operator information for the engine room has simply been transmitted via a serial electric line; it has been displayed on a Windows system using HyperTerminal. A fibre-optic network is planned for the future. A new, sophisticated distributed control system is to be introduced, after which communication will take place via Ethernet.

R. STAHL: Modernised HMI Equipment

HMI systems for on-site operation

The operating conditions in the engine room posed a particular challenge to the design of the HMI system. These conditions necessitated a closed explosion-protected system that would also be able to withstand the tough marine environment. Flexible panel PC systems using R. STAHL's EAGLE platform will now be used on site as the ship's new Operating and Monitoring Systems. With the right interfaces for the application and useful connection options, the series is an asset to both the current and future communication solutions.

These devices also make automation technology easier to use. If the sensors in the engine room below deck needs to be recalibrated, for example, this can be carried out on site on the new operating device.

R. STAHL: HMI Systems for on-site operation
R. STAHL: HMI Systems for on-site operation

Designed for maritime use

Panel PCs using the EAGLE device platform, with display sizes ranging from 10" to 19", have DNV, Lloyd's Register and ABS certification for use worldwide in hazardous areas and on ships. They are resistant to corrosive gases in accordance with ISA 71.4 G3, have IP66 protection, as well as being vibration-resistant and shockproof. Their state-of-the-art quad-core processors make them universally suitable for the operation of machinery and processes, as well as in filling stations. All HMIs come with a touchscreen as standard. The 15" device can optionally be fitted with an innovative, sunlight-readable display. The control panel's add-on modules are able to withstand ambient temperatures ranging from -20 °C to +55 °C. The operating stations are integrated in enclosures, are able to withstand ambient temperatures of between -30 °C and +50 °C, and can be configured in numerous different ways.

The seawater-resistant materials used and the vibration-resistant design of the HMI systems, coupled with adequate resistance to the effects of electromagnetic energy, make these systems a reliable, durable choice for maritime applications. Owing to the tough conditions in these operating environments, solid state drives (SSDs) are used instead of HD drives because they are physically more rugged.

Modular explosion protection

Unlike standard version panel PCs, panel PCs that use the EAGLE device platform are composed of modules that are individually protected against explosions, allowing users to maintain the devices themselves by swapping out specific individual assemblies as needed. The optimal type of protection for each module has been used: the display module has Ex m protection, others such as CPUs and power supplies have Ex d protection, and connection PCBs feature either Ex e or Ex i protection. An Ex e "increased safety" terminal box has connection ports for USB 2.0 flash drives, mass storage devices which are very easy to swap out on these boxes. In addition to two standard USB 2.0 interfaces and two intrinsically safe USB 2.0 interfaces, these devices feature two serial ports, a copper or FO Ethernet interface, a connection for keyboards and trackballs (joysticks), and optional interfaces for barcode and card readers. The devices boast all-round IP66 protection and can also be installed as front panel add-on devices without additional protective measures directly in hazardous areas.

Summary

We supply users with DNV-, Lloyd’s- and ABS-certified, explosion-protected HMI systems. Thanks to our flexible communication options, high-performance hardware and software, easy-to-use touchscreen devices and the clever structural design of the systems, EAGLE devices are a user-friendly, futuristic solution for all the operating and visualisation needs.