Engineers losing control (skills)....

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The Dieselduck
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Engineers losing control (skills)....

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:35 am

An interesting article showed up over at Maritime Professional ...

Anglo Eastern innovate Advance Process Instrumentation Trainer
by Joseph Fonseca
Jul 04, 2011, 4:01PM EST

For imparting practical training to the top level marine engineers Anglo Eastern Maritime Training Center has developed a process trainer

Since simulators, ship-in-campus and other systems have their limitation for imparting training to marine engineers in some of the advanced areas Anglo Eastern Maritime Training Center has come up with an innovation for imparting training to marine engineers in the field of automation and control system. It has built and designed in-house the “ADVANCED PROCESS INSTRUMENTATION TRAINER” especially to train chief engineers, second engineers and senior electrical officers.

As new vessels coming out of the shipyards get integrated with increasingly advanced technologies bringing in ever higher level of automation, marine engineers are coming face-to-face with new challenges. Until now there was no substitute for learning through experience which is very expensive and risky. But Anglo Eastern’s custom built process trainer is set to change all this. Their process trainer is designed with a vision to impart more confidence to the sailing engineers in the field of automation, control system and various onboard processes.

“One of the weak areas of expertise among engineers is control engineering,” stated Francis Akkara, Head of Engineering Studies of Anglo Eastern Group. “Operation of the engine room, cargo monitoring and operation system are to be well taken care of. Unless one has the theoretical knowledge he / she can’t use the analytical knowledge and skill to fix the problems. This course will help the marine engineers to gain theoretical knowledge and confidence in dealing with such automated equipment.

“After the course, the candidates learn how to calibrate the valves, E/P converters, adjust the PID controllers or even supervision through human machine interfaces, a newer prospect on board that could be a challenge to troubleshoot. We have even provisioned for a ‘Programmable Logic Controller’ thus making this trainer a complete hands on training concept for marine engineers.”

It is desirable that ships should run with better efficiency and all processes be in good operating range as suggested by the makers. This makes it important to monitor these parameters and operate the system in an optimum manner.

For example, a process like jacket cooling water system, boiler system and so on can be optimized, only if operated well within the allowable limit. This way the marine engineer will protect the owner’s interest and save our planet by minimizing the wastage of energy. Secondly, a plant being operated too far from the set point can give progressive failure which includes a cylinder liner crack, boiler damage etc., which are expensive mistakes. In order to operate such automated system efficiently, it is imperative to acquire good theoretical and practical knowledge.

Anglo Eastern has initially commenced with a two-day course for imparting theoretical and practical knowledge of various control systems, including Proportional, Integral and Derivatives. This system is designed to train engineers & electro technical officers in the very basics of instrumentation to advanced levels in control systems & automation.

This trainer that has been developed has got controlling equipment which are the exact make used extensively onboard. “There is no such equipment available in the market suitable for such high value training capable of imparting effective training,” points out Mr Akkara. “The training that we are imparting is a combination of theoretical knowledge coupled with practical training. We can also induce problems and faults in the trainer equipment so that the candidates are trained in achieving better ability in trouble shooting and fault finding.”

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Re: Engineers losing control (skills)....

Postby JollyJack » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:52 am

But can it simulate the inherent unreliablity of electronic components which are no longer made and are unavailable? All very well playing computer games on new equipment, the question is will the simulator provide training in hardware and software failure and planned obsolescence? Will it have a "manualmatic" mode to train Engineers how to operate the ship when the electrickery fails and no replacement parts are available 6 months after it's installed because it's obsolete?

Computers are great for the temporary storage of data and information, for tabulating, calculating and playing video games. When they interface with machinery in a hot, humid, vibrating environment prone to violent movement, they can be a disaster waiting to happen.
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Re: Engineers losing control (skills)....

Postby Max Oiltemp » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:13 pm

I guess any training is a Good Thing but if it is not used immediately and often, it will slowly seep away until you're more-or-less back where you started. I took a DP maintenance course at Lowestoft College four years ago but have had ETO's on all my ships since and despite having passed the course with no problem, I would be hard-pressed indeed to solve any major fault with our system. If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's an electrical problem :mrgreen: .

Jack is right - cyber-assistance is great as long as there's also a big red "Manual Override" button!

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Re: Engineers losing control (skills)....

Postby JK » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:04 am

After being ashore for over a decade, I find my operational "memory" is slipping. If I was presented with a plant I had sailed on, I could probably run 'er up after a bit of head scratching. The new technology though, makes me feel like the professional, circa 1950, 3rd engineers I sailed with when I started 30 years ago.

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