From sailing criss-cross to steering on data

Start-up Techbinder ensures that the offshore wind industry can deploy its fleet much more efficient and environmentally friendly.

As an IOT system integrator, start-up Techbinder ensures that the offshore wind industry can deploy its fleet much more efficient and environmentally friendly. This can easily save tens of per cent on maintenance, fuel and sailing time. The biggest task for CEO Bram van den Boom is to make the shipping industry aware of the advantages of data collection and processing. “It could be so much better.”

general overview of a possible fleet overview

What is the problem you solve?

Ship management is still largely based on experience and feeling. However, systems onboard are becoming more complex and smarter. In the process industry, remote control rooms and data systems support all activities. We see that the installations are very similar to those of a vessel, so there is a lot to learn from that. Moreover, due to the ageing population, a lot of knowledge is lost and well-trained personnel is scarce. Due to the climate and environmental concerns, business operations have to change and customers are increasingly demanding extensive reports. It is also important for shipping companies and shipyards themselves to operate as efficiently, ecologically, financially and technically as possible. About 90% of the data you need to achieve that, is already there. You just have to capture the data and get it to those who can do something with it.”

What is the core of your solution?

“We ensure that data from the most diverse equipment is collected, organized and analysed over longer periods. Via a human-friendly dashboard, this information is transferred to those who can make well-founded decisions to improve efficiency and ecology. Even outside their own organization. By choosing fixed KPIs that match the type of work and the goal of the customer, we can put multiple vessels against the same yardstick over a longer period of time. Often, four or five KPI’s of the 95 that we can already measure, are enough. By setting the best vessel as a benchmark, you can optimize the rest of the fleet in a targeted manner.

In addition, long-term measurements of energy consumption, vibrations and the temperature of the assets - from radar and winches to pumps and motors - are very interesting. They indicate how efficiently they are used when they threaten to break down, how bad the fouling is, how fast the vessel is sailing and moors at a wind turbine and what the impact is. You can also map the travelled route with location measurements. One of our pilots shows that vessels often sail criss-cross through a wind farm like a ping-pong ball. With the right data, a planner can map out the most efficient route. You can imagine how much time and fuel that saves.”

What is so innovative about your solution?

“We are changing the whole way of managing vessels by centralizing knowledge and introducing an additional support tool. The shipping industry is searching. We base our IOT-systems on the systems that are already established in the process industry and make them suitable for the maritime sector. After all, a vessel is a floating machine and can be managed in the same way to a large extent. Because the industry is several years ahead, the maritime industry can cherry-pick. There is something for everything. Of course, the KPIs for each type of operation are different. We have discovered, among other things, that in shipping the efficiency of sailing and the match between design and use of the vessel can already make a huge difference.”

What are the benefits?

“Calculations show that availability will increase enormously. First-time right support increases by 40%, fuel costs decrease by 10-15% and the efficiency to sail from A to B increases by 20-30%. Furthermore, the payback period of a vessel is reduced by up to two years, the training time of the crew is halved, the number of manual tasks for reports is reduced and customer claims are reduced. Ultimately, the data can also lead to a better vessel design. For example, we see that certain critical assets such as generators, motors, and pumps are enormously over-or under-dimensioned. That leads to much more wear and tear and inefficiency.”

one day operation wind farm (before optimization)

How far are you now?

“We started two years ago after we had conducted a pilot with our former employers in 2017. My partner and I work with about 15 technology partners and we deploy many students. We now have about ten customers in the machine-building industry for food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. In the maritime sector, we work for a shipowner who is completely 'turned on' and we have carried out a number of pilots. We are now going to run more pilots thanks to the PortXL incubator programme. PortXL has chosen 15 from hundreds of registrations from start-ups that are allowed to carry out port-related innovations at companies that are affiliated with it.”

What are your challenges?

“A shipbuilder cannot build an IOT system itself. Yet we see a lot of own initiatives. To this end, they often enter into long term and expensive processes with research institutions. That is not necessary at all. You can start very small. That pays off immediately. During a pilot at a shipbuilder, the return on investment was only two months. Simply because the data showed that a different landing method would limit the impact enormously. We can draw up a roadmap for customers to further expand the system. Unfortunately, it is not easy to convince potential customers of the advantages of data collection and processing. They all look at each other. Only one has to say: we are going to install it.”

What is the added value of TKI Wind op Zee?

“Martin Weissmann of TKI Wind op Zee is one of the coaches at PortXL. Thanks to him, we have made it to the last 15 and we will receive support in the coming months in looking for parties who want to use our data system on boards. We have yet to experience what TKI Wind op Zee can do for us.”

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