Ricardo delivers its first virtual remote IMO Tier III certification testing

Written by Nick Blenkey
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MTU 10V2000M 72 marine engine under test at Ricardo's Shoreham, U.K., Test Center.

With COVID-19 travel restrictions and associated measures in place, global engineering and technical consultancy Ricardo plc has implemented a virtual certification test service that enables it to offer customers in the marine sector an advanced emissions testing and certification service.

Recently, Ricardo carried out its first IMO MARPOL Tier III virtual certification testing event for Norway’s Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions, the Nordic importer and distributor of MTU products from Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions arranged for the engine, an MTU 10V2000M 72 marine engine developing 900 kW a 2,250 rpm, to be shipped to the test facility at Ricardo’s Shoreham, U.K., Technical Center. The Ricardo team provided a suite of IT solutions to streamline the remote certification test process. These included fixed and portable camera technology to enable inspection of the test-cell and the emission measurement system checks, and a comprehensive connection of virtual network connectivity to consolidate multiple systems: the test automation system data display, test-cell live camera, engine management system (EMS) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) control sub-system, all of which were orchestrated centrally by the test engineer to continually adapt the presentation display securely, via Microsoft Teams, to suit the witnesses requirements, while operating an efficient compliance testing schedule.

In addition, the Ricardo team facilitated separate connectivity of the EMS and SCR remotely to Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions and its Swedish sub-system supplier to enable effective live monitoring and control of specialized systems by experts in Sweden and Norway.

This enabled the customer, the supplier and the witnessing agent, classification society DNV GL to observe the remotely-performed emissions tests and validate quality checks — which more usually would be undertaken in person — and participate in the test and certification virtually and safely, without the need for travel.

Even as organizations start to return to normal after national, regional or local lockdowns, the successful implementation of remote engine, vehicle test and certification work may continue to appeal to customers and witnessing agents within the marine sector, particularly given the need after the pandemic to accelerate product plans by reducing time and cost, while receiving a high quality, safe and efficient service.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions could have stopped this certification test completely,” said Ricardo Test Operations director Richard Murphy. Fortunately, Ricardo has considerable experience in virtual certification and with the strong responsive cooperation of Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions, we were able to work together to change the whole delivery concept at very short notice. Without adapting to support a remote event it is unlikely that our customer would have been able to certify in the required timeframe with anyone else and may have faced substantial logistical challenges with 7-14 day isolation of staff during any international travel.”

“Although this is our first IMO Tier III certification event, the general requirements are broadly similar for any recent or current global emission standard, so the key deliverables of open, transparent testing, quality data, excellent digital security and a high level of responsiveness, apply to any federal marine testing, European on- and off-highway certification project. Therefore, we were able to apply our knowledge and experience of successfully performing remote/virtual test and certification events for eMachines, passenger cars, real driving emissions and other on-dyno testing to this challenging project. We know that the remote accessibility of the Ricardo test facilities is proving increasingly attractive to our customers for more general test operations.”

Ingleif Iverson, Director of Engineering & Projects a Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions, said: “I want to take the opportunity to thank the Ricardo team for very good cooperation through the complete project. A number of challenges due to COVID -19 did not manage to stop Ricardo from performing their mission, and we are extremely grateful to the team, both at Ricardo and the witnessing authority, for going the extra mile to support our test and certification.”

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