Schottel and Ulstein make automation and digitalization move

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Schottel and Ulstein are cooperating on maritime automation and digitalization. Spay/Rhine, Germany, based propulsion and steering specialist is taking a 50% stake in former Ulstein subsidiary, Ulstein Blue CTRL, which will continue as an independent 50/50 joint venture between the companies under the name Blue CTRL.

Blue CTRL’s offerings will be based on the X-Connect marine automation platform that Ulstein has been developing since 2011.

Schottel has a long history of developing control and automation systems for a wide range of ship propulsion systems.

X-Connect is a universal digital platform for marine automation, control and monitoring. All functionality in the system is predefined and configurable supporting the philosophy “configure, plug and play.”

Blue CTRL will offer systems for both newbuilding and vessel upgrade projects.

“There are many similarities between our companies. We are both privately owned. This implies the possibility of long-term strategic business concepts. We believe that we have products which are highly complementary”, says Tore Ulstein, deputy CEO at Ulstein Group. “Seen from the designer’s perspective, we believe that a closer integration between the development of the marine platform and the propulsion system will give far better operations of the vessel. If we manage to streamline more data between the different systems on board, we can optimize dynamic positioning and operations. This again will lead to reduced fuel consumption, reduced emission hence greener operations.”

Schottel already has a presence on the vessel’s bridge through its propulsion control systems. Propulsion controls, along with the development of further assistance and positioning systems, have always been a strategic focus for Schottel.

“We very much look forward to this cooperation in Blue CTRL and to start the common development of intelligent systems for marine automation and digitalization,” says Stefan Kaul, President Industrial Operations & CEO at Schottel.”The Blue CTRL systems will not only enable us to offer our customers smarter and integrated controls for both newbuilding and existing vessels, but also provide a solid system for the offering of hybrid and electric solutions. Partnerships are essential in the current market. With the independent set up of Blue CTRL, with a clear focus on the development of automation and digital services, we ensure that we continue serve our customers as the innovative and global propulsion experts.”

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