In the offshore and maritime industry, the level of automation is continuously increasing. One of the key demands is motion compensated systems. These allow for instance to compensate the ships movements and safely transfer passengers to a fixed platform at sea via a gangway.
The Dutch company Controllab Products BV develops and implements this sort of control systems for crane and gangway manufacturers. However, developing such solutions can be costly and time-consuming because many parameters such as hydraulics and mechanics must be taken into account.
In order to make the process more efficient, Controllab Products BV moved to model-based design, which allows engineers to design and test their solutions using simulations. Instead of spending days fine-tuning control at sea, the design can be optimised virtually without access to the physical machine itself, a test location, suitable weather conditions, etc.
With the help of the European project INTO-CPS, the Dutch company Controllab Products BV has been able to further improve this technology. They have used a co-simulation engine developed in the project and integrated it into their production system. As a result, they can now exchange simulation data and show results real-time in 3D on screens and virtual reality headsets. The results are so realistic that it gives you the impression that you are operating the real-machine, and thus can experience the product before it exists!
With this solution, the company can simulate the motion of the ship, the hydraulics of the crane and the motion compensation to isolate the passenger from the movement of the ship; and they can now show all that in 3D and by adding all kinds of objects and effects.
In 2017 the company started a roadshow visiting their crane and gangway customers, who very much welcomed the results. By using these new 3D and virtual reality simulations, Controllab Products BV expects to increase their competitiveness in the market. They will be able to offer their clients a competitive advantage when selling new disruptive visions. In addition, this technology can be used to train operators of the different companies to work with these machines, as they are quite different from the manual operated systems from the past. To respond to this need, Controllab Products BV is already developing the first commercial training simulator.