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Remote monitoring and control of marine engines and process instrumentation for dredging operations

Cooper, Peter (2015) Remote monitoring and control of marine engines and process instrumentation for dredging operations. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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A project was carried out in conjunction with an Australian dredging company and served the purpose of increasing their operational efficiency through advanced monitoring and control. A system consisting of wireless communications, PLCs, HMIs and SCADA was implemented to provide the dredge operator and management staff remote monitoring and control of the operation.

The pre-existing dredging arrangement relied on frequent visits to the land-based engine-driven booster pump to tune the engine speed for optimal pipeline flow. These visits were carried out by land-based staff, at the request of the offshore dredge operator who monitors the flow via a magnetic flowmeter. The dredge operator needed to control the booster pump remotely to save time and resources. For improved project supervision, it was also envisaged that management should have access to daily shift reports and live monitoring from the office.

Electrical systems were implemented at the dredge and booster pump to accommodate wireless and wired industrial networks. The new arrangement allows the dredge operator to monitor and control operations via a HMI display mounted in the dredge cabin. From the cabin, the dredge operator can view data from both engines and process instrumentation such as pipeline flow. The booster pump also contains a HMI display from which it can be independently monitored and controlled. A SCADA system was installed on the dredge to generate daily reports and provide management with live access to operations from the office.

The new system was a complete success increasing production efficiency and improving operations management. Eliminating visits to the booster pump and improved supervision of equipment significantly reduces dredging downtime. Access to daily reporting and live operations allows management to supervise operations without travelling to site resulting in cost and time savings. This project not only provides a solution to a gap in the dredging market, it provides a knowledge-base for future students or engineers to continue development of diesel engine monitoring and control using commercially available components.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Cole, Graeme
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