Automation on the High Seas

May 5, 2012
Manufacturing’s continuing expansion knows no borders, including land.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and STX Offshore and Shipbuilding taps Honeywell Inc. ( to provide process automation systems for five new vessels that will carry liquid natural gas (LNG) to southeastern Brazil. Also making use of industrial automation expertise, Carnival Cruise Line reupps with ABB Inc. ( to maintain and upgrade its Azipod electric propulsion equipment on 20 ships for the next 15 years.

Carnival Cruise line announced in April that it would update its venerable fleet and cut its energy costs for each ship by more than $1 million per year using ABB’s Azipod equipment. Introduced 20 years ago, the Azipod system is a podded electric propulsion unit where the variable speed electric motor driving the fixed pitch propeller is in a submerged pod outside the ship’s hull.

ABB tells Automation World that the energy efficiency improvement comes from better hydro-dynamic efficiency in the updated Azipod system. The updated system has a new pod cap and fin structure and this allows a ship to optimize water flow. Secondly, the steering angles of Azipod are optimized continuously, based on such conditions like wind, streams, speed and trim. ABB says these two factors should allow for a 2.5 to 4 percent energy efficiency upgrade.

>> Click here to read how companies are monitoring energy efficiency for different systems and seeing a 40 percent reduce in energy costs. Visit

In other shipping developments in April, DSME and STX Offshore are building five new vessels for the transportation of liquid natural gas for ship owners in Norway, Russia and the United States. Honeywell will build-out an integrated automation system, using the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) at a value of more than $8 million (U.S.). The Honeywell DCS system will manage the machinery and cargo areas of the vessels, including the cargo emergency shutdown system. DSME tells Automation World that the vessels’ storage and regasification unit will be capable of delivering 30 million cubic meters per day of natural gas to southeastern Brazil.

“For more than 12 years, DSME and Honeywell have worked in collaboration and delivered more than 40 complex projects,” says Sang-Cheol Lee, senior manager, DSME Co. “We appreciate Honeywell’s ability to deliver a reliable and robust automation solution, and to jointly develop various systems such as re-gasification, re-liquefaction and main engine gas injection (MEGI). These new systems have been instrumental in helping DSME stay ahead of competition."

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