The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which manages the 82 kilometers long Panama Canal that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, has awarded Kongsberg Digital a contract to upgrade and extend the K-Sim Navigation simulators based in SIDMAR; the Center for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development of the Panama Canal Authority.
Equipped with the new technology, the Panama City-based center will be able to include multiple vessels in training scenarios and extend the realism of the simulator training provided for pilots and tug masters, Kongsberg Digital said, adding that the upgrade, scheduled for August 2021, would involve a broad scope of delivery.
The center’s main K-Sim Navigation simulator will be upgraded with new visual image generation and display/projection systems, and an array of new consoles and hardware (HW) panels.
In addition, Kongsberg Digital said, a unique new floor projection system will be installed to replicate the port and starboard views from the bridge wings. This feature will allow trainee officers on the main bridge to monitor the tugs and pilot boats in – for example – demanding port and tug maneuvering scenarios with vessels in close proximity.
Also, two new K-Sim Navigation bridge simulators are included with the delivery.
One will be configured specifically to duplicate a full-mission tugboat bridge with the capability of simulating various types of tug propulsion systems including Voith, Schottel, and Azimuthing Stern Drive (ASD).
“The 360° vertical displays on the new bridge simulators will enable student tug masters and pilots to train together with the crew members on the main bridge, while a new CCTV system and KONGSBERG’s award-winning instructor stations will make the creation and individual assessment of exercises more accurate than ever,” Kongsberg Digital said.
“We’ve enjoyed a fruitful working relationship with the Panama Canal Authority for many years,” adds Andreas Jagtøyen, EVP, Digital Ocean, Kongsberg Digital, “and it’s very satisfying to know that we can continue providing SIDMAR with our cutting-edge simulation technology, which now will be integrated for multi-vessel training scenarios. The commitment the Authority has shown with this large-scale K-Sim extension and upgrade confirms its faith in our simulation technology and bodes very well for our ongoing mutual development.”
NAUTIS Simulators will take your maritime training suite a step further in 2021 by introducing autodidactic tools to aid in maritime training.
Maritime training methodologies have been evolving radically over the past couple of years and the reliance on autodidactic or self-training technique has gained substantial admiration.
Education & Training Hence, the NAUTIS team at VSTEP is currently busy collaborating with Smart-Ship, a Delft based start-up that specializes in Haptic Feedback technology, to integrate haptics with NAUTIS maritime simulators. This integration will assist nautical students with their self-learning process.
Haptic Feedback is an advanced technology that allows the user to receive tactile information by sending out various touch-based feedback. This technology is utilized by a vast range of industries ranging from gaming to medical to education and simulation. The usage of Haptic Feedback is even more prevalent in the modern automotive industry, guiding drivers in the form of vibration feedbacks when for example the driver pushes the accelerator or the break too hard or turns the steering wheel suddenly with excess strength. Maritime students and trainees undergoing training with NAUTIS Simulators will now also be able to train with the help of haptics, which would reduce the need for an instructor. This will guide them through their navigation journey by providing direction & input in the form of telegraph, helm guidance assistance, vibrations, sounds or light.
Advantages of Haptic Feedback
- Automated learning: Haptic Feedback controls provide guidance to its users on how to maneuver different types of vessels. Moreover, the advanced force-feedback system warns operators if their decisions may result in high-risk situations. This reduces dependency on instructors, making it cost effective and repeatable.
- Replay scenarios: The levers log all instructor and trainee input which allows for seamless replays of scenarios to increase effectiveness in learning. The software also enables ‘rewind’ to review and redo the exercises and assess the possible consequences.
- Customizable & remotely controllable: Haptic Feedback control can be integrated and used with all kinds of navigational simulators. Furthermore, the solution can be operated remotely which enables safe-distance training and limits unnecessary traveling.
Rotterdam, 08 February 2021 – VSTEP further strengthens its international footprint by signing a deal with the South Korean partner, SRC CO Ltd. to deliver NAUTIS Simulators at JEJU Seong San High School.
SRC CO Ltd. is a maritime equipment developing and manufacturing company that began its journey in 2008. Professional engineers with more than a decade of experience in the field develop, source and supply IT based maritime equipment.
Jeju is a popular island located in South Korea that attracts thousands of people for its jaw-dropping natural beauty. However, being an island means that the main mode of transportation to the surrounding regions is through water. As such, one of the renowned high schools in Jeju – JEJU Seong San High School was searching for high tech maritime simulators to train their students advanced navigational skills. VSTEP joined a tender process through the local partner SRC CO Ltd. and has won the deal to deliver one Full Mission Bridge Simulator with fishing module as well as ten classroom-based training desktop simulators.
The simulators will allow their students to gain the competences they require through realistic and cost-effective training. The configurations will enable groups of trainees to practice their navigation skills in highly detailed simulated environments in alignment with the school’s training goals.
Mr Hungi Lee, General Manager at SRC Co. Ltd said: “This fishing simulator is the 3rd series installed at the Korean Marine Science High School. After Gyeongnam Marine Science High School in 2014, the installation was completed at Pohang Marine Science High School in 2017. We take pride in supplying products of the best educational quality by supplying products that realize perfect performance through the development and update of fishing vessel operation functions every year”.
Now in operation at the Thome Group’s Makati City facility in the Philippines’ Metro Manila region, a new full mission navigation bridge simulator with a 320⁰ view was formally opened, following all relevant COVID-19 protocols, on January 20, 2021. Present at the event were Per Selmer Olsen, VP for Thome Ship Management, ROHQ, Ian R. Garcia, CEO of the TSM Group and Elmer Pulumbarit from the International Maritime Training Fund (IMTF), with other participants joining online.
Using Kongsberg Digital’s latest K-Sim navigation simulator, trainees will be able to use equipment that looks, feels and has the same functions as real onboard equipment, while operating in a safe training room environment.
The sophisticated new visual system brings to life geographic locations, different weather conditions and other nearby vessels so trainees can have better seascape and interact with multiple scenarios.
This is the second navigation simulator which the Thome Group has set up at its state-of-the-art training center in Manila. The new system will be used for conducting various levels of navigational training. including bridge team management, ship handling, ship to ship maneuvers, deck simulator assessments and ice navigation, among others. All of the training can be customized to specific client requirements to enable cusomized courses on specific ship types, geographical regions, operation type etc., which provides a valuable training experience for the crew.
“Making sure our crew is fully trained on the latest equipment before they go onboard is a necessity, which is why we have invested in the most up to date technology from Kongsberg,” said Olav Nortun, CEO, Thome Group. “The new bridge system can be integrated with the K-Sim engine simulator which enables a comprehensive range of training scenarios that will help support inter-departmental operations. The system also has a playback facility which allows full de-briefing sessions with the trainees.”
This latest system has the capability to remotely view live classes from anywhere in the world, allowing clients to observe their crews in training.
“This new simulator will teach our teams how to use onboard equipment in a controlled environment,” said Claes Eek Thorstensen, Executive Vice Chairman, Thome Group. “People tend to retain much more knowledge when having to perform an actual task than just passively listening to someone talking and so these incredibly realistic simulators are the ideal way to ‘learn by doing’. In a time where travel is limited having the ability to view these simulators in real time from other locations is an added bonus.”
The technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted by the City of Duisburg, Germany, to provide the latest in simulator technology for inland waterway navigation. The simulator will consist of seven full mission bridges in two locations within Duisburg; six at the Schiffer-Berufskolleg Rhein vocational college, and one at the DST Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems. This will form the most modern inland simulator training facility in Europe. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in the first quarter of 2020.
Wärtsilä technology will enable inter-connectivity with other simulators, a universal hardware interface for future developments, and can be used for R&D purposes. It will also be utilised for advanced modelling purposes with other Wärtsilä tools, and for planning and analysation tasks.
“The more realistic the training, the more capable will be the crew, which is why state-of-the-art simulation is so important. Inland waterway navigation presents a number of challenging situations, and with this simulator training these challenges can be realistically studied and prepared for,” says Hendrik Posenauer, Senior Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Voyage.
“This new SANDRA – Simulator for Advanced Navigation Duisburg Research and Application – comes at the right time and will fulfil the requirements for giving future seafarers the skills they need,” says Thomas Krützberg, Head of Family, Education and Culture, Work and Social Affairs, City of Duisburg.
All seven bridges will comply with the latest CESNI (Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure) requirements relating to standards in the field of inland waterway navigation.
Installation and handover of the Wärtsilä equipment will take place later this year.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability, and emissions.
The technology group Wärtsilä has completed replacement of the Ship Analytics simulator solution at the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Ship Control and Navigation Training System (SCANTS) facility. The original simulator system was installed at the Academy in the 1990s, and the replacement work was carried out primarily by, and in partnership with, NavSim Services, Inc., the prime contractor. The upgrade was accomplished in two stages to accommodate the operational training schedule of the Academy, and to fit within the academic breaks. The primary purpose of the USCGA SCANTS facility is bridge training for Academy cadets and officers preparing to take command of their own cutters. The training emphasis is on navigation, piloting, and collision avoidance. However, the inclusion of specialty modules within the Wärtsilä simulator solution also enables highly advanced training in naval operations, search and rescue, and other operational activities unique to the mission of the US Coast Guard (USCG).
The highly advanced Wärtsilä system consists of two Full Mission navigation and ship-handling bridges, three additional part task bridges and five separate yet interconnected instructor stations, designed to provide the instructors and operators with the maximum flexibility in accomplishing their training missions. Designed to provide trainees with a realistic perception of operating in a real-life shipboard environment, the simulator complex utilizes an advanced physics engine and high fidelity hydrodynamic vessel modelling capabilities to replicate the behavior of vessels in various sea states, and at all speeds and environmental conditions.
“The comprehensive and highly advanced Wärtsilä simulation system allows the US Coast Guard Academy to conduct extremely realistic exercises, pertinent to the various operations required now and for a long time into the future,” says Timothy Park, Sales Director, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions.
The USCGA carries out more than 15,000 man-hours of training annually on the SCANTS complex. The SCANTS simulators are used for a wide variety of training: from teaching new cadets the basic Rules of the Road, to advanced maneuvering exercises for experienced officers. They needed a reliable, flexible, realistic, state-of-the-art simulator system to handle that amount and breadth of training. Upon completion of the project, we were told that the Academy was extremely pleased with the results”. explains Anthony Kunecki, President of NavSim Services.
After a careful analysis of the missions performed by the USCG, several functionality modules were included within the deliverables. Furthermore, since the potential exists for underway replenishment at sea during operations, Wärtsilä’s high fidelity Naval UNREP training module, an advanced functionality, was included. This module will allow Coast Guard personnel to train for risky operations within the simulation environment. The Wärtsilä Model Wizard and Virtual Shipyard 2 programs were also included, allowing the USCG to not only modify area and vessel databases as needed, but enable the creation of new area and model databases as well when necessary.
With the inclusion of the Wartsila SAR training module, large scale search and rescue operations can be rehearsed, either on each bridge individually, or with all bridges participating in large scale, complex operations. This module provides the USCG Academy with the tools to train for emergency situations, including man overboard, lifeboat, fires and collisions.
Wärtsilä Simulation & Training solutions are built from the ground up to train and prepare seafarers of the future. They offer micro-learning, enabling education anytime from anywhere, personalized training and e-learning supported by remote tutoring. They offer gamification of training, drawn from real-life situations and virtually recreated, to make it more engaging for individual learning or for building team skills in multi-player mode. Furthermore, new content distribution technologies allow these solutions to reach seafarers on every platform, with options for virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability and emissions.
The technology group Wärtsilä will supply a complete navigational simulator upgrade for the Le Havre pilot station in France. The intention is to provide the pilot station with a totally new simulator specifically adapted to the requirements of the pilots’ operations. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in February 2020.The new unique visualisation system to be supplied is based on 14 DP projectors, comprising seven main circular and seven ground projection systems. It features a panoramic 350-degree screen. The station’s existing Wärtsilä simulator was installed in 2004, and the new upgrade is required to address current and anticipated requirements.
“We have worked with Wärtsilä for a number of years already, and we are familiar with their experience and expertise in simulation technology. The new system will be of great benefit to us in training the pilots, and will complement the practical training they acquire at sea,” says Pavel Pereira, President of the pilot Station.
“Le Havre is a busy port and safety is a prime consideration. For this reason we have been contracted to deliver a totally new, state-of-the-art navigational simulator that will enhance and ease pilot operations,” says Eric Letrou, Area Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Voyage.
The simulator enables users to study the reaction of a vessel in operational situations. It assists trainees in perfecting manoeuvres under challenging sea and weather conditions, and in emergency situations, taking into account currents and winds as well as pitch and bank effects. Furthermore, it will enable the validation of future port planning. Wärtsilä’s navigational simulators are in full compliance with international standards and regulations.
The Le Havre pilot station has existed since the 16th century. 47 pilots currently operate from the station, 24 hours a day, all year round, and in practically all weather conditions. The station serves the port of Le Havre, the Antifer oil terminal, and the port of Fécamp.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability and emissions.
Finland to deliver a comprehensive upgrade of the institution’s simulator training capabilities.
This large-scale overhaul will update the university’s existing K-Sim Engine simulators to the newest technology and models, while the faculty’s ship’s bridge simulators will in turn be upgraded with new hardware panels and ported over to the latest K-Sim Navigation technology platform.
Additionally, to enable advanced training in LNG handling and bunkering procedures, a new vessel model based on a pioneering Dual Fuel passenger ship will be developed as an integrated Bridge/Engine simulator solution for the K-Sim Engine DEDF 42 model. The entire delivery, scheduled for the autumn 2020, is reinforced with a five-year LTSSP (Long-Term Service Support Program) agreement.
Included in the delivery will be several K-Sim Navigation Full Mission Bridge simulators meeting DNV GL Class A and B certification requirements. One of the simulators will be integrated with KONGSBERG’S Dynamic Positioning system for DP training. Further, the contract also includes K-Sim Navigation DNV GL Class C Desktop Bridge simulators incorporating NAV and GMDSS notations; instructor and debriefing systems; and a K-Sim Engine Full Mission and Desktop simulator upgrade with four additional student stations, instructor training modules, touch-based main and emergency switchboards, and model software simulating operational equipment on a variety of vessels.
The end result will be a state-of-the-art simulator facility with largely unparalleled functionality in an educational establishment, capable of mounting integrated team training exercises for marine engineers and bridge crew on a total of five different simulated vessel models. The integration of K-Sim solutions will instruct students on such crucial disciplines as decision-making and leadership, situational awareness, team interaction and crew/ship-to-shore communications.
“We chose Kongsberg Digital to deliver this contract because the company offered the best solution at the best price,” said Bengt Englund, vice-rector, Aaland University of Applied Sciences, “and that combination is unequalled, so it was a logical and beneficial choice. This huge upgrade emphasises our commitment to educate students by using the best and most modern simulation equipment available. It’s a substantial investment which means that the university will now have a complete range of simulators for study and research purposes. Our focus is on team training to strengthen both individual and collective competence, and the five simulated vessel models, with their integration flexibility, will address all of our training requirements.”
“This highly significant contract continues the long and mutually fruitful relationship we have enjoyed with the University of Applied Sciences in Aaland,” said Tone-Merete Hansen, senior vice president, Kongsberg Digital. “We’re extremely proud to be providing such high-quality training tools for the university, knowing that by doing so we’re helping to produce the best-qualified and skilled crews for the maritime industry in Finland.”
The “artificial” experience provided by simulators is widely recognized as both effective and cost-efficient, says Captain Chris Hearn, Director of the Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the Marine Institute of Memorial University, Canada.
CMS has the most comprehensive suite of maritime simulators in Canada and is expanding its capacity further with the addition of another bridge simulator – this one for a shuttle tanker – in partnership with industry clients. The simulator will be integrated with others at CMS to allow for multi-ship operations including ship-to-ship transfers between tankers.
CMS has a history of managing large technology research projects that improve its simulation capacity and is currently partnering in a project involving dynamic positioning technology for drilling operations in ice-covered waters. While other project partners focus on the technology and commercial aspects, CMS is working on more realistic ice simulation.
Improvements in technology continue to change how training is conducted, says Hearn. There’s a new emphasis on so-called digital twin technology, and CMS is collaborating with a diverse group of partners to develop a digital twin application that is primarily focused on how shore-based management centers for offshore oil and gas operations interact with offshore assets and offshore support vessels. The intent is to eventually have a digital twin of an offshore field, its assets and its subsea components that can be used on shore for education and training.
The Centre for Marine Training and Research at Georgian College, Canada is also adopting digital twin technology, including the latest class of ships built for the Great Lakes Seaway and a recent high-tech ferry, the Pelee Islander II. Centre Director Thomas Aulinger says, “Here the owner, Ontario Ferries, had the foresight to make a virtual twin of the vessel prior to construction in order to train the crew before the arrival of the vessel from the shipyard.”
The College offers over 30 marine courses in its new Marine Emergency Duties facility, simulation labs and also off site. Aulinger says developments in simulation technology and program development are constantly evolving, and the College is currently installing another simulator with the latest generation of Kongsberg K-Sim technology with dynamic positioning in combination with an existing engine room simulator.
Existing Wärtsilä bridges are also being upgraded with consoles reflecting the latest changes seen on ships. “An upgrade to 75-inch vertical monitors in a Class A bridge simulator scenario provides an unparalleled experience for students,” says Aulinger. “Here too, dynamic positioning capability has been integrated. Furthermore, the College invests in both hydrodynamic and area-modeling capabilities. As such, we are one of the few schools in North America able to provide clients with this service on both the Wärtsilä and Kongsberg systems.”
If possible, the College strives to incorporate hands-on or simulator exercises in courses which by IMO standards are otherwise highly theory-based. There are numerous examples where more simulated training – prior to increasing a junior employee’s responsibilities, for example – could be beneficial, says Aulinger.
“As advanced technologies are developed in industry, we are able to reflect these technologies in our simulation systems for training,” he explains. “These will include simulating such technologies as auto-docking and auto-locking while integrating hyper-accurate forces such as squat and piston effect within a lock.”
Sea stories are an integral part of Resolve Maritime Academy’s course offerings. The U.S.-based academy has recently reduced its curriculum to focus on firefighting. “Our Resolve team members have fought container ship and bulk fires,” says Joseph Farrell III, Director of Business Development. “For example, I was actually at a bulk ship fire about a year and a half ago off Africa, so we bring that to the academy as our edge.”
Farrell notes his own early-career training experience at another school: “Our firefighting training was at a house where we put out a hay fire, and that was enough to meet the core requirements for the Coast Guard. At Resolve, we do it very differently. We have a real Class A fire in a compartment that people have to come down and fight.” The 180-foot training prop is designed as a ship with three decks. “Students have to negotiate small alleys and ladder wells. “It’s very tight, and the fire hose can get stuck, so it’s like a real ship fire,” says Farrell.
Cruise lines are one sector taking particular advantage of the facility, often providing their own case studies and near-miss experiences to be incorporated into the training. Resolve is now planning the construction of a new fire trainer using the latest technology in fire props and able to provide both Class A and propane-generated fire training.
“The new fire trainer will allow us to provide realistic training beyond meeting regulatory requirements,” says Director Denise Jones. “Our trainer will accommodate cruise ship scenarios with a live grease fire, a balcony fire, entry into a fire space from above and from a long corridor, to name just a few.”
Earlier this year, STAR Center in the U.S. launched a new on-campus firefighting training simulator to expand required STCW and Military Sealift Command course offerings at the AMO Safety and Education Plans’ training center in Florida. The new simulator, designed by Fireblast Global, has received U.S. Coast Guard site approval and can accommodate the training needs of both AMO members and commercial mariners. The new fire field and simulator have the ability to replicate shipboard firefighting scenarios above and below decks. The helicopter props effectively simulate helicopter firefighting operations and deck fires.
Innovations & Upgrades
At MITAGS in the U.S., it’s common to have four or more simulators integrated into one exercise for port operation studies or advanced training.
Glen Paine, Executive Director, MMP MATES Program (MITAGS), says this is just one part of the innovation going on. Additionally, MITAGS has expanded its Maritime Apprenticeship Program to include unlimited tonnage licenses for oceans and inland waters. “These new programs are based off our highly successful Workboat Mate Program,” he says. “In addition to those seeking an entry-level opportunity to quickly advance, they are ideal for retired military and others looking to start a second career in the maritime industry. In addition, we are standing up a similar program for the engine department by year-end.”
MITAGS is also expanding its highly successful Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP®) to most industry sectors. “We now offer watchkeeping assessment scenarios for management/operational levels for the deep sea, workboat, river, cruise ship and ferry sectors,” says Paine. “We also have assessment centers in the U.K., Croatia, India and the Philippines.”
Paine says mariners are coming from diverse backgrounds and seek training that meets their specific needs: “One of the great benefits of NSAP® is the training officer receives a detailed report on a mariner’s strengths and weaknesses. From the report, a custom training program can be developed with an objective methodology to measure change in performance after training. We see these types of detailed assessments being used in engineering and cargo operations as well.”
Maritime Professional Training (MPT) in the U.S. is upgrading projection technology for its main bridge simulator and introducing additional integration for engineering and navigation simulators. Courses are being harmonized with a number of overseas academies so that joint scenarios can be conducted.
“Our industry is evolving,” says COO Ted Morley, “and training providers have to evolve right along with it to maintain the viability and applicability of their training. Ships and vessels are increasingly complex with smaller crew sizes. If the training doesn’t keep pace, then efficiency and safety suffer.” MPT has been engaged in workshops and “town hall” presentations to introduce a wider demographic to the industry and attract new recruits. There are job opportunities out there at virtually all skill levels, he says.
MPT also conducts regulatory and non-regulatory leadership training. “Many companies want to include their own procedures and policies in these classes to ensure they are not only familiar to the crew but also that they are viable and effective,” adds Morley. Skill assessment and revalidation are major focus areas. “Ensuring a mariner has the knowledge and competence at the time of certification is only part of it. If those skills aren’t used, they are lost. It’s vital to look at recurring training and competence assessments to ensure ongoing capability.”
Svitzer has its own in-house simulators, including in the Bahamas, where ongoing training is provided to both staff and external clients. Denmark’s Force Technology is modeling regional ports and vessels from the company’s tug fleet. Svitzer says more and more clients, such as terminals, port authorities and pilots, are wanting to try out different towing techniques for their ports. The company has its own staff training policy and has also trained captains from Brazil, Peru and Canada and pilots from Equinor and Peru LNG at the Svitzer facility in Freeport.
Ralph Franjul, Svitzer’s Country Manager for the Bahamas, says the main advantage of conducting the training in-house is being able to train crews to the company’s high standards and ensure safe collaboration during operations among clients, pilots and Svitzer crews. “The flexibility of having our own simulator is also priceless,” he notes.
Synthetic rope manufacturer Samson has initiated a new program to help customers maximize line life and reduce risk. The new integrated technology and service solution, Icaria® for Mooring, is designed to facilitate the transition to OCIMF’s Mooring Equipment Guidelines, Fourth Edition.
One of the major components of Icaria, called “Classroom,” offers a set of virtual tools with consistently updated course content designed to allow for easy competency management of crews and certification programs for key specialist skills. It’s another example of the ongoing evolution of education and training in the maritime industry.
Damen Shipyards Group and VSTEP Simulation, a leading provider of training simulation technology, have joined forces to establish a laboratory to explore innovative new simulation solutions. The aim of the partnership is to develop software that will extend the capabilities of VSTEP’s existing NAUTIS Maritime Simulation platform into engineering applications and so open up new research and development possibilities for Damen’s numerous R&D programs.
The initial focus will be on ship design and engineering, where software will be developed that will allow naval architects and engineers to first model potential changes in a design and then view in virtual reality the impacts that these would have on other aspects of the vessel’s performance.
“Business units across the group require ever more simulations to mitigate the risks inherent in designing and commissioning,” says Marcel Cleijsen, team leader at Damen R&D. “Costs per simulated vessel are currently high due to dependency on suppliers, high tariffs and limited re-usability as ownership remains with suppliers. This project is an investment that will drastically lower the cost per simulation by standardizing the interface between components and making the completed simulations re-usable for future purposes.” Damen is well-known for its commitment to continually improving its designs based on industry feedback and the application of new technology, and this capability will be a valuable tool in supporting that process.
“With our focus on driving innovation within the industry, we can ensure that our combined solutions will complement each other,” added Steve Claes, technical director at VSTEP Simulation. “The industry demands better quality each year, which is something our maritime simulators can help accommodate. I believe this new project marks the beginning of a closer cooperation that will lead to a wealth of new data findings. These findings will contribute to the digitisation of the industry and pave the road to a new norm, with our simulator solutions in the lead.”
Damen and VSTEP Simulation already work together via Damen’s associate company 360-Control. There, NAUTIS Maritime Simulators are used to train crew in maneuvering tugs and OSVs in a range of scenarios in a highly lifelike but zero risk environment.
The new laboratory will also explore the potential to create ‘Digital Twins’. That is, virtual representations of existing vessel types that can then be manipulated to establish how they might perform in roles or conditions that they have yet to experience. That information will then be applied to optimizing the designs to allow them to operate effectively in new markets.
“Investing in a full bridge simulator is a step towards the Digital Twin goal,” adds Marcel, “and not only enhances Damen’s capability as a digital system integrator, but also enables us to present our findings to our internal and external clients and suppliers in an intuitive 3D graphical format.”
The laboratory will be based at Damen’s headquarters in Gorinchem and operational from February 2020.