The 118 WallyPower a fast pleasure Yacht 'Onboard' with OPC

The 118 WallyPower Onboard with OPC

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 Technical Systems Engineer Tom Keefer with ISD, LLC. "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.