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RH Marine launches onboard cloud solution for system integration

Maritime system integrator RH Marine has developed an automation network that requires less hardware, is more flexible and simplifies updates and repairs.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} The technology was originally developed for the Royal Dutch Navy. It is driven by the need for more efficient use of manpower and more efficient maintenance. Like other vessels the navy has a lot of personal computers onboard, connected to a lot of servers, making software updates, hardware repairs and replacements a complicated matter.

After two years of R&D RH Marine launched its new Integrated Virtualised System Architecture (IVSA), inspired by cloud- technology, taking automation system integration to the next level. The system provides an onboard computer network to which applications for the bridge, engine room, CCTV, the Alarm Monitoring and Control System (ACMS) or power management systems can be connected.

“Due to the virtualised technology the software runs on the server, not on numerous computers. Instead of let’s say 40 computers and dozens of stacked servers you only need a few servers. Every screen you plug in to connect with the LAN-network becomes a workstation. That can be on the bridge, in the engine room or every other selected spot on the vessel. On every workstation you can do everything”, said Marcel Vermeulen of RH Marine.

This has a lot of advantages. In case of workstation failure, all software applications are immediately operational on another station, allowing the operator to continue there instead of waiting for hardware or software repairs. Failed or obsolete hardware components are replaced without any downtime or impact for the applications running. In case of an application upgrade, one USB stick in the main server can update the software on all working stations. If an additional workstation on the yacht is needed, a network cable to the nearest network wall socket is the only thing required. In a minimalistic bridge design the compact workstations require no more space than a smart monitor and a network cable.

Furthermore, by using IVSA there is no need for early design freeze. Early in the project a general infrastructure with a few servers is delivered and later on or after delivery applications and sensors can be added without impact on this installed infrastructure. This allows a of time to be saved on onboard cabling between computers, network and servers.

The system is flexible and can integrate hardware or software from various suppliers. It can be installed onboard any vessel during the design and construction phase or added later on, so it is applicable to both newbuilds and retrofit solutions. RH Marine is able to upgrade or adapt the bridge without any extreme modifications.

RH Marine has worked with Bureau Veritas to start a classification process. The virtualised system has now been applied to one of the newest naval vessels and received the approval of the MED wheel mark certification. {/mprestriction}

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