OEEC: ‘New tech paves the way for range of new possibilities that save money’

Digitalization and automation keep evolving and with that the scope of these technologies. Take the offshore industry where more and more companies are coming up with innovative solutions for the upkeep of offshore structures and vessels.

This process is called smart maintenance and it was the subject of a Technical Session on Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference on Wednesday.

Three speakers shed some light on the topic of smart maintenance: Martijn Handels, Reservoir Engineering Consultant from Rolloos, Arjen Ros, Change Agent from Copernicos Group and David Knukkel, CEO of RIMS. The session was moderated by Ralph Dazert from Netherlands Maritime Technology.

First up was Arjan Ros. His company specializes in asset management, the management of complex and capital-intensive systems. Ros spoke of the diverse stakeholders in the dynamics of an asset and how they should share their ‘mental models’. “Everyone has its own experiences. Record structural knowledge, develop a common language and monitor performance.” The interaction between people itself and systems determines results. “Results that cause better performances, lower costs and better controlled risks.”

David Knukkel’s presentation was not all about software. He also develops hardware that provides smart maintenance. His company uses smart drones and robotics. “We survey vessels with drones. It is safer and less time consuming to carry out those inspections, especially in enclosed spaces. And if scaffolding is involved, it is also cheaper. We open the hatch of a ship and drop the drone in the tank.”

At the moment his drones provide images, but there are drones on the market with arms and Knukkel is testing a drone that can measure the thickness of paint. “There is a lot of technology out there already. It is just a matter of finding the right partners to realize projects.”

Martijn Handels told the audience that combining knowledge and experience with big data can result in remarkable insights, but he warned not be too ambitious.

“Some companies try to predict the failure of an asset on the minute, but those projects go normally over budget because of over engineering. I would advise to aim on the lower hanging fruit in the tree. If it works, it pays for itself.”

During the panel discussion the speakers agreed that not everyone in the industry is eager to adopt new technologies. But they emphasized that that those technologies pave the way for a whole range of new possibilities that could save companies a lot of money.