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DiMOS Project Q&A

Mon, 07 December, 2020

The Innovate UK-funded Digital Monitoring of Ships (DiMOS) Project has been working to create a digital monitoring system for ships. The project, which has seen TWI collaborate with Vibtek Ltd, CMServices Global Ltd and Brunel University, has received around £2 million of funding from Innovate UK.

The project has now seen the creation of a prototype, which has been undergoing beta testing at sites around the UK with the aim of creating a system that can be used for maintenance planning for a ship’s structure, engine machinery and auxiliary systems. The use of real-time sensor data and AI-based models will take account of risk levels, costs and timings for maintenance and place them into a single platform.

To better understand the project and find out the latest updates, we spoke with Matthew Gill, Technical Director at Vibtek Ltd, and Simon Edmondson, Director from CMServices Global Ltd, to find out more...

Can you start by explaining the benefits of this system compared to more traditional monitoring methods?

Matt (Vibtek): The DiMOS system will increase the user interface, with operators being directed to machine defects instead of general inspection. The DIMOS software will take the data and produce works orders to quicken repairs, as they will be labelled with a severity rating.

Simon (CMServices): The benefits of the DiMOS system are that it brings not only the maintenance system but also the condition monitoring system into the one platform. The system looks holistically at the methodology, strategy and prescriptive diagnostic information in the FMECA for each individual machine. The software uses artificial intelligence near real time data and prescriptive diagnostics in a fully automated global accessible system to give the owner a condition monitoring report of individual machine components. Other benefits include:

  • Optimised operational performance and safety, and prevention of failures via automated maintenance planning
  • A reduction in inspection and maintenance costs by 35% leading to savings of over £700K per ship, per year, for operators and owners
  • Immediate fault monitoring and prescription of best maintenance strategy without manual diagnostics and data interpretation
  • Enhanced maintenance accuracy and a reduction in the annual downtime of ships from 7 to 1.5 days
  • Support for operators, owners and maintenance providers in fulfilling their regulatory and legal obligations for safe operation and maintenance of seagoing vessels

An important aspect of the project is the ability of the system to offer a prescriptive diagnostic approach that can alleviate the requirement for manual interpretation of data, why was this so important?

Matt (Vibtek): One if the main benefits is the customer will feel like they own the diagnostics and see the results, compared to the current method, which sees outside specialists handling data and analysis. This will increase the customer involvement and will see defects followed up and repaired quickly. The DiMOS method will also be much faster; giving results in a matter of seconds compared to days and weeks with other systems.

Simon (CMServices): The importance of alleviating the manual interpretation of data is due to the fact that, nowadays, the systems generate gigabytes of data in both vibration and process data, and it is becoming increasingly difficult and more time consuming for somebody to interpret the data. The artificial intelligence incorporated within the DiMOS software can evaluate an entire machine in seconds, however, this would take an individual several minutes if not more depending on the complexity of the machine or machine train. Within the DiMOS software, this is fully automated, but the output can still be verified manually if needed.

What part have you played as partners in the development of this project, alongside the other partners?

Matt (Vibtek): Vibtek has led and managed the project, we have worked with the team for over 2 years on the project. We have involved customers such as Grants Distillery, Toyota UK and Royal Mail. We have installed the hardware and monitored the measurements. CM services provided maritime expertise, project management and software development. TWI have led with project management and AI development, working with Brunel.

Simon (CMServices): I was brought into the project due to my 30+ years in the marine and vibration industry. CMServices took on the role as the interface between the project and the marine industry including the regulatory bodies. This included the compiling and review of the maintenance strategies, process and procedures, and the compilation of the FMECA system. In the latter part of the project, CMServices has developed the entire DiMOS software, with TWI and Brunel University working on the artificial intelligence for the software. Vibtek provided the hardware and vibration software at several of their customer sites.

What are the latest developments with this project and how have these helped to progress the project towards its final goal?

Matt (Vibtek): We have live on-site testing at one Royal Mail site, one Toyota site,  and at Grants Distillery, this will give the project field testing results, so we are ready to take the product to market.

Simon (CMServices): The latest developments include the finalisation of the FMECA application within the software. Progress is also being made on the artificial intelligence. The Alpha version was released in late November for internal testing only by the partners, with the Beta release of the software version one to be released in mid December. The final release and review of version one will be at the end of the year.

The system has been developed for maritime use, but are there potential applications elsewhere?

Matt (Vibtek): Yes, we have developed a system that will work in the maritime sector and also in manufacturing, food and drink, and postal sectors, who are involved in the live testing.

Simon (CMServices): The potential applications are global i.e. in any industry that uses machinery, for example, fans, pumps, compressors, gearboxes etc. including, but not limited to, any process data. Although the software was primarily developed in conjunction with condition monitoring vibration analysis in mind, any big data processed, etc, can be used to run through the software. The major industries that are going to be benefiting from this are shipping and manufacturing in the automotive, food, mining, services and logistics (such as postal).

Finally, when can we hope to see the system being used industrially by shipping companies?

Matt (Vibtek): The system will be ready for roll out in January across all sectors.

Simon (CMServices): At present, we have an installation in a shipping company and we are approaching several others to help further develop and ensure the rigidity of the system in the first quarter of 2021.


The DiMOS Project has received funding from Innovate UK with Project Reference No. 104505

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