Reducing Crew Members’ Workload：
Photograph of the inside of a combustion chamber taken by Kirari NINJA, which is shown in the upper photograph
NYK, its Group company Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI), and Daito Electron Co. Ltd. have jointly developed Kirari NINJA (patent pending), a device that can automatically photograph the inside of a vessel engine’s combustion chamber.
Until now, a crew member has had to stop the engine and go inside to inspect the combustion chamber. However, darkness made seeing the inside of the chamber in detail difficult. Also, working for long periods in high temperatures exhausted crew members.
Kirari NINJA comprises a panoramic camera and a light. By installing it on the upper part of the piston in the combustion chamber, 360-degree photographs of the interior can be taken during one round of vertical piston movement, which takes approximately 10 minutes. This capability dramatically reduces the workload of crew members. Moreover, the photographs taken enable them to see the condition of the inside of the combustion chamber in great detail, which promises to help prevent engine accidents and reduce maintenance costs.
A Chief Engineer’s Opinion
Until now, inspecting inside an engine involved working in very hot, confined spaces. However, Kirari NINJA has enabled inspectors to minimise the time spent working inside engines. Also, detailed inspections inside engines by an engineer used to require opening the engine, but Kirari NINJA enables inspections without opening. As a result, we are able to conduct inspections more often, and in doing so contribute to safe vessel operations. In retrospect, it surprises me that this type of inspection tool did not exist. I think it took the particular viewpoint of a shipping company to identify the need and develop such a tool.
Supporting Safe Vessel Handling：
Docking and undocking is one of the most tense times in vessel operations. To provide assistance in reducing the risk of colliding with the quay, the NYK Group has introduced i.Master software for handheld digital charts. The software gives crew members a bird’s eye view of the vessel’s movement and the surrounding situation. Via a tablet computer, the software shows crew members the course of a vessel and its docking or undocking speed and automatically identifies other vessels. Furthermore, the system allows crew members to monitor docking and undocking constantly without being on the bridge. Collisions with the quay could force vessels to lay up for long periods. As well as inconveniencing customers, such delays would lead to a loss of trust. By using i.Master effectively, we will reduce the risk inherent in docking and undocking.
i.Master is just one example of our innovative efforts to develop useful technologies for a range of operational situations and thereby build systems that ensure stable, safe, and efficient vessel operations.
A Captain’s Opinion
For vessels such as car carriers, which have many blind spots from the captain’s position when docking and undocking, i.Master is a really valuable support tool for the captain because it gives an overview of the vessel’s movement. Also, we take advantage of a tablet computer’s portability to ensure smooth communication. For example, while handling the vessel, the pilot can use the system to discuss docking and undocking plans with crew members, and they can check with each other as needed.
Enabling Accurate, Easy Measurement of Tank Liquids：
NYK, its Group company MTI, and Semco Ltd. have jointly developed Honesty, an efficient tank sounding device (patent pending) that improves efficiency when measuring liquid stored in the vessel’s tanks. Tank sounding entails measuring the depth of liquid stored in the tank or the distance from the top of a tank to the liquid surface. Honesty significantly streamlines the process of sounding the surface of liquids in tanks.
Moreover, the device accurately measures cappuccino bunker, which causes the quantity of delivered bunker oil to appear greater than it actually is due to small air bubbles being in the bunker oil when bunkering. Honesty is able to measure accurately the quantity of bunkered oil, even cappuccino bunker, because its sensor does not react to bubbles on the surface of the liquid.
In addition to bunker oil, the device can measure colourless and transparent liquid, such as lubricating oil, ballast water, and bilge. While incorporating a range of progressive features, the device has outstanding usability. It is lightweight and easily portable and does not require an external power source because it operates on standard batteries. Also, Honesty has received approval from the ship classification society ClassNK.
A Chief Engineer’s Opinion
Tank sounding is always a race against time when we have to sail as soon as possible after bunkering. The introduction of Honesty has enabled us to measure tank levels quickly and accurately. Also, we measure the levels of all ballast tanks daily. However, measuring the surface level of colourless and transparent seawater is difficult and time consuming. Honesty has significantly reduced the time we spend making these measurements.
Promising a Wide Range of Uses：
UMS Check System
NYK and its Group company MTI developed the UMS Check System, the first time a Japanese shipping company has developed such a system. Before engines and equipment are operated unattended, for example at night, measurements need to be taken, and the taking of such measurements is called an‘unmanned machinery space (UMS) check’. In a conventional UMS check, crew members take measurements from all equipment installed in a vessel’s engine based on an extensive checklist and manually record the collected measurement values on paper. The introduction of the UMS Check System removes the need to record data on paper. The system not only greatly reduces data-entry time compared to entry with a conventional keypad but also notifies the crew if abnormal figures are entered, allowing the crew to respond quickly.
Furthermore, because the system instantly shows data trends for the past week, it quickly alerts crew members of abnormalities and promises to become a useful training tool. In addition, the system displays data trends as graphs so that crews can check changes over time and allows crew to store photographs or videos of equipment-related abnormalities. Also, the system can send data directly from handheld terminals to onshore servers, allowing onshore personnel to view data in a timely manner. We intend to use the resulting big data to create new value.
A Chief Engineer’s Opinion
The checking of whether each of the more than 1,000 items on the UMS checklist is at a safe value calls for competence and concentration. Digitisation allows the setting of benchmarks for inspection items so that inspectors can readily tell if the measurements they have taken are correct. I feel that, besides enabling us to send inspection data to onshore operations for use, the system has made this inspection data more immediately useful for onboard operations.
An Example of the Creative Solutions Development Fund’s Support
Diver cleaning a vessel bottom under waterAn Example of the Creative Solutions Development Fund’s Support
Capitalising on expertise cultivated over many years, Yusen Navtec Co. Ltd. upgrades devices and collaborates with the Dry Bulk Marine Quality Control Group to ensure that the cleaning of vessel bottoms in Japan and overseas complies with the NYK Group’s standards. These act’vities could contribute to the Group’s competitiveness because they have the potential to be used for vessel types other than dry bulk carriers and to accelerate fuel-saving efforts. With this in mind, the Creative Solutions Development Fund is supporting efforts to establish upgraded devices as intellectual properties and select and conduct negotiations with local providers of services for the cleaning of vessel bottoms overseas.