Improving The Most Extreme Businesses Through Reliable And Robust Technology

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AOPEN’s Digital Engine “black boxes” on speedboats endure extreme conditions that would cripple almost any technology.

For businesses that use speedboats in the Netherlands, it can be tricky to measure crew performance or to get other significant performance indicators of the journey. BMO Offshore’s specialty is in offering consultancy and analytics to those boat owners that operate in the high-wind areas around the Dutch windmill parks. BMO Offshore is a strongly data-driven organization that provides deep operational information based on the on-board measurement system that it installs on each client’s boats, using the innovative Vessel Black Box solution including the AOPEN Digital Engine computing device. The information the company collects enables clients to validate vessel and crew performance and safety offshore, and improve processes to minimize risk in what can be some very dangerous conditions.

Combining client data, measurements and BMO’s own analysis allows offshore operators to make better operational decisions. Facilitating continuous operational improvements to increase the effectiveness and safety of the offshore operations of clients is the main goal of the company.

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The Challenge

Simply collecting the raw data with which to make these critical insights for clients is a major logistical challenge for BMO Offshore. By its very nature the conditions in which the measurement tools need to operate in are rough, with wind, sea swells, and the moist, salty air itself conspiring to create an environment very hostile to technology. To say that the tools installed on the boat need to be rugged is an understatement.

BMO Offshore sought a computing solution that could run the on-board analysis software by being placed on client’s ships, to gather the critical data on the way the ship behaves when in adverse conditions. This device would need to be rugged enough to handle enormous shock from tumbling around in the ocean at speed as it was gathering live data, and it would need to be able to handle data feeds coming from multiple sources, such as a GPS sensor, HD camera and motion control unit, and then be able to move those insights into the cloud via a live Internet connection.

With many working parts, the overall solution would be one prone to regular failure should its core component, the “Black Box,” experience downtime or breakages. The AOPEN Digital Engine was chosen for this solution due to its proven resilience and functionality, meaning that it would be able to handle the tough life at sea and provide reliable and regular insights back to BMO Offshore and its clients. 

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The Solution

The idea behind the Vessel Black Box is to offer operators a vessel movement monitoring system that would collect data essential to improving the operational performance and offshore safety of those boats. The value of this data can be broken down into four key categories, with the overall insights leading to a more efficient and effective fleet and workforce:

  •  The data allows clients to test the vessels and access systems for economic suitability by logging the vessel’s movements during transit and transfers, and logging the boat landing impacts by vessels.
  • The data enhances crew safety monitoring by tracking whole body vibrations and providing instant feedback to the captain. Motion sickness indicators and comfort ranking, coupled with the real-time nature of the data allows for quick incident investigation.
  • Advanced fleet management is enabled through automated reporting of all CTV movements and transfers, long-term real-world performance comparison of vessels, crews and operators and operational performance comparisons of CTV footage and sea states.
  • Data leads to KPIs being realized by using the data to provide a complete management report. Though the Vessel Black Box clients get an operational analysis of vessel spread, reliability and marine operations.

By measuring vessel movements and accelerations in all degrees of freedom, working conditions are assessed continuously. The Vessel Black Box is an integral part of BMO Offshore’s services and installed, operated and managed by BMO Offshore. It is also completely stand-alone and delivers information directly and reliably without additional work from the crew of the boat. Leveraging the cloud as it does, the data is collected and analysed remotely, and at the end of each month clients receive a complete and in-depth report.

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The Core

Because the Vessel Black Box is so core to BMO Offshore’s business, there is no room for unreliability. Downtime would mean an absence of data, and incomplete reports would not supply the customer with the rich analytics that led them to a contract with BMO Offshore in the first place.

AOPEN’s Digital Engine media player has become a critical part of BMO Offshore’s business, and it has been performing admirably, according to Gijs Hulscher, MSc Technical Director, BMO Measurement Solutions BV. “So far all the components in our monitoring solution have already been replaced once, except for the media player, which has proven to be a great investment” Hulscher said. For AOPEN, the success of the media player as the core Vessel Black Box validates the extensive investment the company has put into robust technology and solutions for organisations with extensive field work requirements.

“Our success with BMO Offshore shows how powerful the AOPEN Digital Engine is in very extreme circumstances. It’s something we obviously test in our labs, and this customer success story underlines the versatility that the Digital Engine can offer customers,” Gabriëlle Offringa, Marketing Manager AOPEN Europe, said.     

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The Future

The success of the initial engagement has meant that BMO Offshore will soon require more AOPEN Digital Engine units in order to satisfy the growing number of clients that have found the data and analysis to fundamentally improve their business efficiency and staff satisfaction.

“Due to the success of our business, not only do we serve our customers with great data and analytics for process improvement to save costs and improve safety requirements, we are now looking to expand our business. All of the machines that we acquired in the first round of rollouts are out almost every day, so that means we will soon need to invest in more units to serve our customers”, Hulscher said.

BMO Offshore is also looking to invest in even more powerful AOPEN machines. Currently the Vessel Black Boxes are AOPEN Digital Engine DE67-HA devices, but the company will soon start to test the AOPEN Digital Engine DEX7150. While the DE67-HA has proven to be an incredibly capable device, the DEX7150 promises even greater results for BMO Offshore, as it is AOPEN’s most ruggedized Digital Engine thanks to its fanless design. 

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