Recent article published about our work.
Wally is a Monaco based shipbuilder known for some of the finest sailing and power
vessels in the world. The 118 WallyPower is one of the fastest pleasure yachts over
100’ in the world. With a normal cruising speed of over 60 knots (70 mph!) this boat
challenges the concepts of traditional nautical travel.

Three Vericor Power Systems TF-50 Gas Turbine Engines that are rated for 5,600
horsepower and weigh approximately 1,500 pounds, power the 118 Wallypower.
With a combined total of 16,800 horsepower she travels the sea with impressive
speed, power, and comfort. A Siemens S7-300 PLC controls each of the TF-50
propulsion systems. At her launch the ship was originally outfitted with a local control
panel in the engine room and a remote panel at the bridge that was dedicated to
each of the three propulsion systems.

“Over time, the need for a combined information management system became
evident,” explained Systems
Technician Tom Keefer  “The original system design
did not allow for a way to monitor and review variables from an overall ship
perspective. Important information such as Total Ship Fuel Consumption or
Efficiency was not presented. We support the Open Systems concept behind OPC
based solutions and my experiences with Kepware products made me very
confident that we could integrate data from various sources on the vessel and create
a total information backbone to our data management system.”

The original control panels were not large enough to handle an additional Ethernet
communications module, so another way to gather data from the Siemens S7 PLCs
was required. Kepware’s NetLink module became a clear choice. This simple
adapter added to the PLC’s MPI port allowed for a quick, cost-effective solution to
network all three controllers together. Using the Kepware OPC server with Siemens
S7 Ethernet driver, interfacing to the PLC was effortless.

There was an additional need to collect data from the ship’s GPS. Using the
Kepware U-CON (User-Configurable) driver, Tom wrote a NMEA (National Marine
Electronics Association) driver to decode the unsolicited serial messages from the
ship’s navigation instruments to allow instantaneous readings of ship speed and
position. The added bonus was that both the Siemens and U-CON drivers run under
a single OPC server application, which made historian and HMI connectivity
seamless.

With an estimated data retention of over five years, the system monitors just over
five hundred data points at approximately 500msec. Combining all of this into a
central data historian and HMI package, today the crew’s capabilities to understand
the ships performance is greatly improved. Now they view simultaneous information
from all three propulsion systems and they can also analyze this information back at
the dock. Key variables such as Fuel Consumption, Engine Performance, and
Range Estimation allow the crew to operate the boat safely and efficiently, while
also providing important technical information to the onshore Wally staff. An added
advantage is that the data collection solution works with the originally installed
equipment, which allowed Wally to leverage previously purchased equipment.  
Reproduced with the permission of The Yacht Report. No further reproduction in any form
without the permission of the authors © TRP 2008