Beckhoff: Get ready for the next automation revolution
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16,000 SHP under OPC server control


WALLY IS A MONACO-based shipbuilder. The 118 WallyPower is one of the fastest pleasure yachts over 100 feet length in the world. With a normal cruising speed of over 60 knots this boat challenges the concepts of traditional nautical travel [and possibly the wallet C Ed].

Three Vericor Power Systems TF-50 gas turbine engines deliver a combined total of 16,800HP. 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 technical systems engineer 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 we were confident that we could integrate data from various sources on the vessel to 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, a simple adapter, was added to the PLC's MPI port allowed for a quick, cost-effective fix 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 an NMEA driver to decode the stream of serial messages from the ship's navigation instruments into instantaneous readings of 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.


Three gas turbines and data control through an OPC server. But at the price of the boat you would at least expect to be given a steering wheel ...

With an estimated data retention of over five years, the system monitors just over five hundred data points at approximately 500ms intervals. Combining all of this into a central data historian and HMI package provides the crew with the understanding to improve the boat's performance. It permits viewing of simultaneous information from all three propulsion systems together with historical analysis. 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.

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