Shrinking Big Data to Magical Data - Relmar
Big data for Maritime
big data, maritime, reliability, rcm, digitalization,
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Shrinking Big Data to Magical Data

Shrinking Big Data to Magical Data

Analysis of large volumes of data is relatively new to the maritime industry in comparison to other industries. Engine and Thruster manufacturers are performing trend monitoring, utilizing information on engine operating parameters (fuel consumption, exhaust temperatures, fan vibration, etc.) to track the “health” of engines and manage Thruster removals and overhauls.

This has translated into huge cost savings for Maritime by providing them with accurate forecasts of engine/thruster changes, especially those whose machinery requires maximum availability such as Column Stabilized Drilling Rigs, Oil/Gas Field Development DP Vessels. Loss in day-rate due to machinery unavailability of these vessel types are substantial. This kind of analysis, however, has been difficult to extend to other systems on the ships and rigs when considering the equipment at system and sub-system level and whose responsibility it is in terms of clear boundaries between equipment and systems and still exists when considering Engine/Thruster systems.

There are health monitoring systems for Ships/Rigs that collect and transmit vast amounts of data from countless sensors on-board. These data-sets are sent in real time to shore bases for rapid analysis, which then provides guidance to the Crew/Shipowner for corrective action.

This sounds terrific – in theory. In practice, and especially in the high cost, isolated and transient crew environment of today’s ship and rig owners, there is simply not the skills and enough time to analyse the information received to provide meaningful guidance when potential failures do occur for those at the coal-face.

The balance of knowing when to intervene to ensure functional failure does not occur is an expensive proposition that ultimately will be paid for by the unsuspecting Shipowner plus, these systems and their monthly/annual service charges, are often prohibitively expensive for many shipowners and rig operators whom are still reeling from the woes of the oil and gas industry and the new cost-conscious oil companies looking to save or maximise every dollar. Maritime are looking for rapid returns on investment.

While some of the large Rig Operators and a small number of Shipowners have reliability departments with in-house capabilities to track and analyse fleet performance, smaller Shipowners (90%+) simply don’t have the budgets, platforms or expertise to do much more than the basics. Some turn to the OEMs to help them understand their reliability drivers, and to assist in corrective action plans. But OEMs are primarily concerned with the purely technical, or “chargeable” drivers – those that are often their own responsibility to correct. This limited view doesn’t begin to fully uncover the whole picture in Maritime or Marine Offshore.

The overall performance of a Shipowner or Rig Operator is dependent on a host of moving parts, and there typically is no single department responsible for all. As in most organizations there are various departments, such as operations and maintenance, that impact performance, and they all have their own measures. It is often left to the CEO/COO to try and reconcile these various measures and understand what needs to be done to improve.

There are many companies that sell software packages that can analyse large volumes of data and provide in-depth trending and statistical reports. These can be a very valuable visualization of, say, the reliability of a certain component, showing historical trends. However, the accuracy of the output is wholly dependent on the input – garbage in, garbage out. Vessel maintenance records, defect reports, Incident reports, Back-to-Service Reports, Overhaul reports are often stored in different databases, and sometimes still on paper.

A certain component failure and subsequent replacement will trigger some or all of these various reports to be created – all pertaining to the same event. Add in the human element, where inaccurate failure causes are entered, part numbers entered incorrectly for example, and the ability of these software tools to find and correct input errors while trying to make sense of multiple, often conflicting databases becomes daunting. One should take their output with a few grains of salt.

Another challenge facing Maritime is the daunting task of implementing a new system into their unique IT environment. Budgets and timelines – often established with the help of the overly optimistic software provider – typically are exceeded, requiring special focus to recover. An Shipowner and Rig Operator just wants to transport cargo, develop oil fields and drill for oil, not fix computer systems.

This is why RELMAR decided long ago to provide an analysis service and product to Shipowners, Rig Operators and OEM’s, with no requirement to make any IT changes at the customer. Pertinent data – is first and foremost developed by RELMAR, known as our rule-based MRCM™ Platform. It ensures proper, trusted data is captured, thereby reducing time consuming efforts to make sense of meaningful tends The Shipowner and Rig Operator can then focus on developing corrective action plans, and improving their business. But we don’t stop there, we can also help develop and implement FRACAS (Failure Reporting and Corrective Action Systems) that provides a one-stop shop as well as providing critical parts forecasting. We are OEM agnostic, meaning our sole purpose is the interests of the shipowner/rig operator and the continual functioning of the asset as a whole.

One area in an operation that continues to frustrate even the biggest players is critical parts forecasting. By this we include not only predicting what parts are needed for future demand, but also where they should be located. It has been said that “uncertainty is the mother of all inventory” – and Shipowners would dearly love to reduce their spare parts holdings, while maintaining (or even improving) their fleet performance. Traditional forecasting methodology is like driving by looking in the rear-view mirror – stocking parts based on historical usage. This approach has no chance to react to emerging reliability drivers, or new issues in an aging fleet. An analytical tool is available from RELMAR that seamlessly integrates both the standard historical data with reliability trend monitoring, resulting in a predictive part usage.

Shipowners, Rig Operators and indeed most businesses, are drowning in data. The ability to measure and record information has far outpaced anyone’s capacity to analyse and understand it. Many are attempting to sort through all these data on their own, or “helped” by software providers who know little about the industry. We at RELMAR think that we have a better way – leveraging our decades of industry experience, coupled with cutting edge analytical capabilities, to provide comprehensive guidance. This timely and targeted analysis allows Shipowners and Rig Operators to focus on their core business, and improve their bottom line.

Please feel free to contact Ken Shakesby directly at