The Danish Maritime Authority has focused on ‘Digital Twin’ concept for shipping, allowing access to every bit of information on a ship, from engine performance to hull integrity, available at a glance throughout the full lifetime of the vessel.
As explained, a digital twin is a ”digital presentation” of a vessel with associated processes and systems, based on continuous data collection. And these processes or systems are presented digitally. Rather than arranging for a physical test cycle, the processes can be followed easily and quickly.
Mogens Schrøder Bech, Senior Consultant on R&D at the Danish Maritime Authority, said:
The potential of the digital twin is huge because it is possible to make a number of decisions on optimisation digitally rather than by means of physical tests. And this potential will increase along with the development of digital tools.
This enables operators, for example, to create visual models of the ship and its underlying systems, such as engine spaces and pumps, or to continuously record its fuel consumption, distributed on sources of energy, such as engines, boilers and batteries. Other outcomes could be simulation and analytical models that are developed to acquire the optimum fuel consumption for a particular voyage with a specific cargo, by including external factors such as wind, current and weather conditions.
Another aspect of the “twin” is digital cooperation across the sector. Many players are engaged in the ships lifecycle, such as shipowners, marine equipment suppliers, public authorities, classification societies, universities, maritime university colleges and ship consultants. These players can benefit much from a systemic approach, including the availability and exchange of data.
At a glance, some areas for potential improvements that can be calculated by a digital twin are:
- Optimal operation of machinery systems.
- Optimal retrofit of batteries, more efficient thrusters, bulb etc.
- Performing hull or propeller cleaning.
- Verify ship performance on a detailed level. Visualise the effect of design choices and changes.
- Benchmarking performance towards other vessels in the fleet.
It is believed that Blue Denmark can benefit significantly from systemising future digitalisation efforts on a digital twin platform. Some benefits for stakeholders include:
- For ship owners, digital twins will provide a tool for visualisation of ship and subsystems, qualification and analytics of operational data, optimisation of ship performance, improved internal and external communication, safe handling of increased levels of autonomy and safe decommissioning.
- For equipment manufacturers, the digital twin will provide a tool to facilitate system integration, demonstrate technology performance, perform system quality assurance and promote additional services for monitoring and maintenance.
- For authorities, the digital twin will offer a systematic framework that can be set up with applications to feed live information and generate required reports from each ship. This can ensure higher quality reporting on critical issues without putting extra burdens on crew.
- For universities, the digital twin offers a new platform on which to increase system understanding and facilitate knowledge exchange enhancing research and development and education in a range of technological disciplines.
- For maritime academies, the digital twin can act as a platform for training that can increase each candidate’s understanding of the whole ship and train them in systems thinking to see the integrated consequences of actions taken.
- Digital twins will require specialised consultancy services. Their role will be to accelerate efficient generation of the digital twin concept, e.g. with regard to state-of-the art requirements and standards for model exchange and handling of large scale data.
The Danish Maritime Authority has asked DNV-GL to draw up the report Digital Twins for Blue Denmark, which considers the ship from the design phase to its scrapping, while involving the relevant players.
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