Sea Technik Ltd is an independent UK based company specialising in
the design, manufacture, installation and support of bespoke measurement,
instrumentation and control systems for installation into ships. Sea
Technik Ltd markets its products world-wide, and these markets include
Europe, the USA, and increasingly Japan and Korea. The company's customers
are ship builders and major shipping fleet operators. The company employs
11 employees and has sales of 0.6 M Euro.
The company's products include a precision ship's draft monitoring
system, ship trim meter, a ship fuel optimiser and the Shaft Power Meter
The Shaft Power Meter product is installed on ships' propeller shafts
to allow the output propeller power to be monitored as part of the overall
ship's fuel usage optimisation control system. The Shaft Power Meter
is a high value system incorporated into 40% of medium to large sized
ships during construction. The current product uses a PC and 'bought
in' data acquisition system components to perform this function.
Sales of Shaft Power Meter equipment is reliant upon cost competitiveness
as the majority of sales are to ship builders operating on fixed price
build contracts. The objective of the application experiment was to
significantly improve the cost competitiveness of the company's product,
and to introduce features that reduced the set up, calibration and maintenance
time and costs incurred by Sea Technik in these sales. The introduction
of microcontroller component technology was undertaken so as to realise
reduce the complexity of the overall system design and simplify the
precision mechanical assembly of parts of the system, leading to reduced
cost and time required for the manufacturing process. In addition simplified
setting up and calibration processes to reduce commissioning costs,
and improved diagnostic facilities to reduce maintenance costs were
The improved functionality of the improved Shaft Power Meter product
- Replacing the PC and 'bought in' data acquisition system components
- Simplifying the product's calibration and set-up procedures.
- Providing self checking and diagnostic facilities.
- Reducing the circuit board size and therefore, achieving significant
cost reductions in mounting cost.
- Improving product reliability by the incorporation of additional
- Improving the flexibility of the product thereby allowing the company
to tailor the Shaft Power Meter system to meet specific customer requirements,
and thus improving the product's sales potential.
The application experiment was completed on schedule in the planned
duration of 10 months.
Through the utilisation of embedded micro-controller technology, substantial
benefits have been realised through a simplified design, reduced costs,
improved reliability and improved system performance. These benefits
will enable Sea Technik Ltd to extend market penetration, building on
a solid reputation in the Power Measurement market. In addition, the
company has developed improved knowledge and capabilities in implementing
micro-controller technologies, and the potential to use the technology
to develop a wider range of products targeted at their market sector
with the consequential improvement in sales and employment prospects
for the company.
The total cost of development to the prototype stage was 48 K Euro.
The industrialisation costs were an additional 15K Euro. Based on projected
sales improvements the payback period for the prototype development
will be 13 months. The Return On Investment (ROI) for the improved product
is estimated to be 410% over the product's 4-year lifecycle.
The company's experiences in utilising the flexibility of micro-controller
devices to complete the project on schedule will be of particular interest
to those companies who trade in similar market places, and will include
ship yards, ship operators, marine research establishments and associated
equipment manufacturers. The targeted industrial sectors include general
mechanical engineering (Prodcom Code 2852), general purpose machinery
(Prodcom Code 2924), building and repairing of ships (Prodcom Code 3511),
and electrical equipment for engines and ships (Prodcom Code 3161).