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ABB commissions new remote monitoring facility

ABB, a power and automation specialist, today announced the opening of a new Integrated Operations Center in Helsinki which will connect with any passenger or cargo ship for the remote monitoring of ABB components on board, including Azipods which are widely used for the propulsion of cruise ships, icebreakers and various types of offshore vessels and rigs.

The new centre will also connect to a ship operator’s shore-side operations centre to support trouble-shooting, maintenance planning and fleet benchmarking.

Sensors and software on board ships will now send performance data via satellite link, allowing ship owners, together with ABB’s experts, to track the performance of their fleets. This will reduce the risk of unexpected downtime, delays, and loss of earnings through missed port calls, for example.

“It is simply more efficient and safe to support the engineer on board than reacting to a problem,” said the svp of Integrated Operations at ABB, Richard Windishhofer. “Shipowners are being much more proactive nowadays and are monitoring the performance of a whole fleet from shore.”

The new facility opens as ABB negotiates potential new Azipod sales to add to existing orders in hand which include 45 Azipod VI units for installation on board 15 ice-breaking LNG carriers under construction for Sovcomflot and other Russian owners. The first of the 170,000 cu m vessels will deliver from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering later this year with other ships in the series due to be commissioned through until 2019.

Azipods have now clocked up more than 12m running hours and more than 4,500 MW have now been installed on more than 20 different ship types since the first installation 25 years ago. The Integrated Operations Center will now allow ship owners to have greater control over the operation, performance and maintenance of these units.

The Helsinki facility follows on from the successful opening of a similar set-up in Billingstad, Norway, geared to the remote monitoring of ABB components for customers in the offshore oil and gas sector. Similar remote monitoring facilities are due to open in Asia and the US later this year.

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