The 118 WallyPower a fast pleasure Yacht '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
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
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.