Several workboat builders now offer their own, bespoke systems for managing and monitoring onboard systems from on the boat or on shore.

IAMCS from Baltic Workboats is one of the most successful of these systems in terms of customer take-up; since its introduction BWB claims it has been fitted on 90% of its delivered vessels. The Integrated Alarm, Monitoring and Control System (IAMCS) was introduced in 2008, with the remote monitoring functionality added in 2016.

IAMCS is a flexible and fully customizable solution for operating a wide range of vessel systems. It consists of industrial Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and touchscreen control Human Machine Interface (HMI) panels which monitor and process data from different systems in the vessel. Monitoring of the system data is based on Ethernet communication and mainly on Modbus protocol. HMI is used to receive and display data from PLCs and also to send data to PLCs for controlling devices and performing other tasks. The system uses hardwired or direct communication between PLC via Modbus, CAN, RS485 and other communication standards for many devices.

Many vessel systems can be integrated into IAMCS system and directly controlled and monitored on the HMI panels.
* Main engines, auxiliary generators, propulsion systems – Start and stop, data and alarm monitoring.
* Hybrid propulsion systems – Integration of hybrid propulsion, controlling and monitoring diesel electric, fully electric and hybrid vessels.
* Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control and monitoring, automatic operation and fully adjustable settings.
* Power Management – All vessels batteries, generators and shore power monitoring and controlling. Customizable non-essential interlocks for consumers.
* Tank monitoring/Bilge level and pump and valve automatic control and monitoring for bilge, ballast and other systems.
* Navigation lights control and monitoring – Different light combinations, hour counter for lamps, fault detection.
* Lighting and other equipment automatic starting/stopping and manual control and monitoring – Pumps, valves, ventilation, cooling, heaters, air dampers and other devices.
* Intruder alarm systems – Motion sensors integrated into system, keypads and cards for accessing vessel. SMS alarm indication.
* Accelerator sensors connected to IAMCS, giving information about current and maximum forces effecting the vessel
* Vessel authentication system by password or cards.
* Fire Detection System integration – Fire detection sensors connected to PLC. Indication of fire location on HMI, automatic fans stop.
* Door indication system – Door sensors connected to system, giving indication of door doors and hatches.

The system was enhanced in 2016 to offer Remote vessel monitoring. This includes data logging of all information and alarms on the vessel and provision of live status information to owner or operator ashore.

The information is accessible by phone or internet and information can be synchronised on a central “cloud” server. Automatic SMS and E-Mails can be set up for alarm reports and fuel consumption.
Feedback from operators suggests that the system’s user configurable trip function for saving trip specific information – fuel consumption, time, distance, vessel speed, etc. is of particular use when managing fleets of several vessels.

IAMCS is currently used on 100 vessels built by BWB. Remote monitoring has been installed on over 15 vessels.

By Jake Frith