Wärtsilä tests AR-based vessel repair and maintenance service

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Wärtsilä’s remote guidance service provides ship operators with real-time troubleshooting and technical advice assistance

In what promises to be a breakthrough in vessel repair and maintenance operations, Wärtsilä has successfully tested a new remote guidance service. It enables ship crew members, field service engineers and shipyard personnel to communicate in real time with shore-based experts anywhere in the world, using voice-controlled Augmented Reality (AR) wearables and remote guidance software.

The tests were carried out onboard the Huckleberry Finn, a RO/RO ferry operated by TT-Lines, while sailing between Trelleborg, Sweden and Travemünde, Germany.

Simulated remote guidance service situations were carried out on the ship’s navigation equipment on the bridge and on the shaft line seals and bearings in the engine room. The WiFi signal for the video sessions was facilitated by a portable on-deck LTE antenna. The onboard simulations were monitored in real-time by expert Wärtsilä personnel located in Gothenburg and Hamburg. The tests verified the effectiveness of the AR wearables as a means of communication, while the portable WiFi antenna provided a strong signal wherever needed.

“The overall evaluation of this testing program endorses Wärtsilä’s strong capabilities in remote guidance service. Regardless of where the equipment is located on the vessel, it shows that we can provide rapid troubleshooting and technical advice, thus saving the customer both time and costs. It’s like having a Wärtsilä service engineer onboard 24/7. We value the feedback from TT-Lines as this was an excellent example of co-creation with a key customer, and one more important step towards realization of Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine vision,” says Thomas Pauly, Future Technologies Product Manager, Seals & Bearings, Wärtsilä Marine.

“This was a very impressive, professional, and pragmatic demonstration of the technology. The connectivity, when operating at sea, was remarkable and the hands-free equipment meets our onboard safety standards,” says Thomas Busch, Superintendent at TT-Lines.

Wärtsilä’s remote guidance service also proved successful during a demonstration in the TT-Lines office, during which remote guidance opportunities for use in dockings and shipyard overhauls were discussed. optimise efficiency, improve safety and lower operating costs for the shipping industry.

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