Royal Caribbean International has several advanced vessels sailing around the world. Many of them are equipped with Valmet’s automation and flue gas cleaning technologies. From the Quantum class, the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship sails between Shanghai, China and several ports in Japan, offering exciting entertainment and a safe and environmentally friendly experience to 4,500 passengers with every voyage.
Behind the scenes and hidden from the passengers, proven technology plays an important role to make this journey safe and comfortable. The process automation system Valmet DNA is at the core for safe operation. Valmet DNA covers the machinery, air condition and emergency shutdown systems on the vessel. The machinery and air condition systems have common communication network and process controllers, whereas the I/O groups and field network are separate.
Mauro Zappala, Chief Electrical Engineer, is in charge of the Electrical Team on Quantum of the Seas. According to him, the automation system is not only integrated with the information management system, but it is also connected to other systems, via serial lines, like Wärtsilä diesel engines and the electric propulsion system. He has experience with other automation systems but Valmet DNA is his choice since it is more similar to using a Windows-based system. With its good graphical interface, it is easy to use.
Caption: Mauro Zappala in the control room of Quantum of the Seas.
“The system is fully redundant, which makes it even more reliable to use. All critical parts are secured with redundancy,” says Zappala.
Omar Corrales, Second Engineer, is also satisfied with Valmet DNA. He explains: “I use the system eight hours a day. For me, Valmet DNA is very handy and fast to operate compared with other systems I have used.”
Caption: Omar Corrales (right) and Curry Qian (left) from Valmet.
Energy management for cost-effective operation
Valmet’s energy management system is essential to be able to operate the ship in the most cost-effective way. It enables the operators to monitor the energy flows in real time, explore performance and optimize energy consumption. When information about the energy producers and consumers is available, the crew can keep all necessary activities under control, enabling the voyage to be more profitable. For instance, even the air condition cooling demand in the restaurants is controlled by a Valmet DNA Energy Saving Scheduler.
Operating the vessel sustainably is one of the most important issues for Zappala. He states: “Within the user interface, we have dedicated pages for our energy management. These pages show the key indicators and possible deviations. Basically, you can see everything – consumption figures of the galley, fresh water availability and so on. If we are losing water, for example, we can search for the reason from the reports and then correct it.”
Trends for analyzing and troubleshooting
For Zappala, another important feature in the automation system is Valmet DNA Operate Trend and Event Archive (TEA). DNA Operate TEA is a tool for analyzing and troubleshooting the process. With this tool, operators are able to monitor trends from the collected history data.
In addition to the trends, DNA Operate TEA enables operators to collect all alarms and operator tracking within the history archives and then view trends and analyze the Alarm and Event history more deeply, when needed.
Zappala explains: “This is a tool that should be used every day to become more efficient with the operation. We can follow and trace any single tag so we can go to the root of the failure. We are able to see how it is behaving, and at the same time, we can learn more and educate ourselves.”
With Valmet DNA, operation is in good shape and the crew can focus on its key tasks. At the moment, there are only four active alarms in the alarm list display – which is a extremely low number considering that there are 13,000 hardwired I/O signals and 7,000 serial line I/O signals available. This accounts for a well-designed functional structure and very good maintenance of machinery and the related instrumentation. According to Zappala, quick troubleshooting is essential for safe operation.
Reliable automation gives you a sense of control
Zappala points out the value of the so-called time machine, which shows a history playback on the displays. He states: “When you can go back in time and see exactly what has happened and why the values have changed, you can improve your operation and avoid similar events in the future. This is certainly one of the most often used tools."
Caption: The displays of Valmet DNA provide you with a lot of information.
There are several stations also in the bridge. From there, for instance, ship stability and tank levels can be monitored. The operation responsibility can be passed to the machine control room, if needed.
Functional descriptions are available online and are used for those activities that happen more seldom. According to Zappala, these descriptions are good to use. You do not have to remember everything when you can trust that the information is safely stored and easy to access through Valmet DNA.
In case of maintenance, all of the most critical parts needed are available onboard the ship. If something is missing, it is ordered and delivered quickly by Valmet. Zappala confirms: “We have full support from Valmet.”
Scrubber for environmental performance
Flue gas cleaning with modern technology that complies with environmental regulations is important on the Quantum of the Seas. Valmet’s scrubber technology was delivered to the cruise ship through Wärtsilä. This hybrid scrubber can easily be switched between open loop, when seawater is used as the wash water, and closed loop that circulates the wash water.
Caption: Javier Caballero knows the benefits of scrubber very well.
Javier Caballero, Second Engineer at Quantum of the Seas, knows the scrubber system well. He explains: “Depending on the legislation, we will use the closed loop and change to the open loop, when possible. The hybrid model is a practical way for us to operate.”
“When approaching a port, for instance, we have to make preparations for the closed loop. All information is transparent and available for the local authorities. Today, the authorities will come to get the recordings from us. We do not have to make any reports for them since the system records everything automatically,” says Caballero.
The scrubber system is fully integrated within the Valmet DNA automation system. “The combination of the scrubber and automation makes my work easier. Emissions are easily visible on the Valmet DNA screens. And they are clearly below the limits,” states Caballero.
All in all, Quantum of the Seas is one of the most environmentally friendly cruise ships thanks to Valmet’s advanced technology. This is certainly something that today’s passengers highly value when traveling.
For more information:
per.syvertsen at valmet.com