An Introduction to Ship Automation and Control Systems (Revised Edition)

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This publication provides a comprehensive introduction to onboard automation and operational safety. With high technical and educational value, it is suitable for marine engineers, students and all who wish to deepen their knowledge of a subject that is not only a technology but also a culture.

‘Automation is not only technology, but is, above all, a culture and man is at the centre of this process’ – Alex Stefani.

This publication covers essential topics related to ship automation and control systems, including a brief history of automation on board ships; an introduction to automatic process control; automation systems equipment and technology; automation system design and engineering; alarms and monitoring; measuring devices and final control elements; automation systems project, testing and operation; advanced applications of automation systems; and future views of automation and control.

The book is illustrated throughout with circuit diagrams and component/system schematics. It is an essential source of reference for both ship automation students and onboard engineers.

The formidable development of technology in marine transportation was hallmarked in the 1960s by the prelude to the marinisation of automation, a philosophy taking its origin from cybernetics, the science of communication and control that goes back to the great scientific discoveries.

Those were the years when the intelligent ship was conceived – a vessel concept based on a completely unmanned or reduced crew having polyvalent professional skills – in Japan, France and elsewhere. This was a radical change to the roles on board ships, entrusting to the machine the functions previously controlled manually.

‘Marine automation is the greatest revolution at sea, greater than the change from sails to steam ships.’ – wrote (in 1970) Vittorio G Rossi, the great Italian journalist and author of books about the sea. I believe that Joseph Conrad, that great English novelist, would agree with this assertion.

It is at the end of the 1960s that Alex Stefani, the author of this book, graduated from the Nautical Institute ‘San Giorgio’ of Genova and was awarded with the ‘Targa Traverso’ plate, for being the top graduate junior marine engineer, a particularly important award of the school and the Italian shipowning community.

As professor at the Nautical Institute of Genova and, later, as editor of ‘Vita e Mare’ and ‘Tecnologie Trasporti Mare – l’Automazione Navale’ reviews, both published under the auspices of the National Research Council and now of the Italian Association of Marine Engineering (ATENA), I have had the privilege of following Alex’s professional career inside the evolution of automation systems and in the variegated world of advanced technologies.

Now General Manager of a global company, Alex is a figure who can undoubtedly be defined as a successor to the ‘fathers’ of marine automation, by having listened and learnt the good tuition from his masters of the profession, the shipyards and the great companies.

Alex and I have jointly organised several symposia about automation on board innovative ships and their safety of operation, and I have always appreciated his intelligence, humility, self-irony and humanistic culture – ingredients of his personality that have brought him to the height of the international limelight.

He anticipated the times, before innovation and information technology were even discussed, by pointing to the reliability of control systems and to the improvement they could make to the overall efficiency and safety of the vessel and to the degree of specialisation required by the crew.

‘This is why,’ says Alex, ‘automation is not only technology, but is, above all, a culture and man is at the centre of this process.'

After having written a few fiction books, this is his first book of high technical and educational value that follows many articles and conference papers he has had published, and I wish him well in gaining the professional rewards he deserves, and the book every success.

Professor Decio Lucano


About the Author


Chapter 1 A Brief History of Automation On Board Ships

1.1 Introduction

1.2 The Origin of Automation On Board Ships

1.3 Notable Ships of the Future Projects

1.3.1 ‘QE2’ Project

1.3.2 The ‘Esquilino’ Project

1.3.3 German ‘Ship of the Future’

1.3.4 The Japanese ‘Pioneer Ship Programme’

1.3.5 The Norwegian ‘Operating Vessel of the Future’

1.3.6 The Danish ‘Project Ship’

1.4 The Evolution of Automation Technology

1.5 The Effects of Automation on the Crew

1.6 Future Crew System

Chapter 2 Introduction to Automatic Process Control

2.1 Introduction

2.2 A Brief History of Process Control Systems

2.3 The Control Loop

2.4 Process Control Definitions

2.4.1 Other Process Control Terms

2.5 Automatic Control Systems

2.6 Process Control Characteristics

2.7 Control Modes

2.7.1 Discrete Controllers

2.7.2 Continuous Controllers

2.7.3 Proportional Control

2.7.4 Integral (Reset) Control Mode

2.7.5 Derivative Control Mode

2.7.6 Proportional + Integral + Derivative (PID) Control Mode

2.7.7 Summary

2.8 Advanced Feedback Control Loops

2.8.1 Cascade Control

2.8.2 Split Range Control

2.8.3 Ratio Control

2.8.4 Feedforward Control

2.9 Application Examples of Automatic Process Control Systems

2.9.1 Diesel Engine Temperature Control System

2.9.2 Steam Boiler Control Systems (Boiler Drum Level Control)

2.9.3 Burner Combustion Control for Boilers

2.9.4 Steam Temperature Control

2.9.5 Burner Management System (BMS)

2.10 Process Control Glossary

Chapter 3 Automation Systems Equipment and Technology

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)

3.2.1 Central Processing Unit (CPU)

3.2.2 The Memory System

3.2.3 The Input/Output System

3.2.4 Power Supply Unit

3.2.5 PLC Operation

3.2.6 PLC Selection

3.3 PLC Programming Languages

3.3.1 Ladder Diagram (LD)

3.3.2 Functional Block Diagram (FBD)

3.3.3 Sequential Function Chart (SFC)

3.3.4 Instruction List (IL)

3.3.5 Structured Text (ST)

3.4 Process Automation Controllers

3.5 Operator Workstations

3.5.1 General

3.5.2 Video Display Unit

3.5.3 Operator Workstation Functional Overview

3.6 Open Control Systems

3.7 Information Management Systems

3.8 Communication Networks

3.8.1 Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

3.8.2 Network Topologies

3.8.3 Media Access Control

3.8.4 Network Devices

3.8.5 Industrial Ethernet

3.8.6 Communication of Open Systems: ISO/OSI Layer Model

3.9 Reliability, Availability and Redundancy

3.10 Environmental Conditions

3.11 Interference-free Electronics

3.12 Glossary

Chapter 4 Automation System Design and Engineering

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Basic Concepts

4.3 Structure

4.4 Propulsion Remote Control System

4.4.1 Automatic Operation Mode

4.4.2 Advanced RCS Architecture

4.5 Remote Control System for Controllable Pitch Propeller

4.5.1 Pitch Control

4.5.2 RPM Control

4.5.3 Pitch–RPM Command (Combinator or Constant Speed Mode)

4.5.4 Load Control

4.5.5 Load-increasing Program

4.5.6 Load Sharing Program

4.5.7 Pitch Indication and Back-up Control of Pitch/RPM

4.5.8 Pitch Back-up Control

4.5.9 RPM Back-up Control

4.5.10 Manoeuvre Responsibility System

4.6 Bridge Remote Control System of Electric Propulsion Systems

4.6.1 Power Limitation System

4.6.2 Torque and Speed Control

4.6.3 Crash-stop

4.6.4 Electric Propulsion Control Alarm System

4.6.5 Electric Propulsion Safety System

4.7 Power and Energy Management System (PMS and EMS)

4.7.1 Introduction

4.7.2 Marine Power System

4.7.3 Power System Redundancy

4.7.4 Power Management System

4.7.5 PMS Functional Design Specification (FDS)

4.7.6 Automatic Diesel Generator Start and Stop Sequence

4.7.7 Diesel Generator Safety System

4.7.8 Automatic Power Restoration Sequence Program

4.8 Energy Management System

4.8.1 Event-based Fast Load Reduction

Chapter 5 Alarm and Monitoring

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Alarm Colour Coding

5.3 Alarm Management

5.3.1 Alarm Suppression

5.3.2 Clear and Understandable Alarm Messages

5.3.3 Recommended Corrective Action

5.4 Other Monitoring and Control Functions

5.5 Data Communication with Other Control Systems

5.5.1 Other Communication Protocols

5.6 Software Assessment

5.6.1 Tests and Evidence

5.6.2 Testing

5.6.3 Software Duplication and Changes

5.6.4 Software Maintenance Management

5.7 Control Rooms and Operator Workplaces

5.7.1 Ergonomics

5.8 Alarm Management Glossary

Chapter 6 Measuring Devices and Final Control Elements

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Measuring Devices

6.3 Temperature Measurement

6.3.1 Non-electric Temperature Sensors

6.3.2 Electric/Electronic Thermometers

6.3.3 Installation Considerations

6.3.4 Role of Signal Conditioners

6.4 Pressure Measurement

6.4.1 Mechanical Pressure Gauges

6.4.2 Electromechanical Pressure Sensors

6.4.3 Trim, List and Draught Measurement with Pressure Transmitters

6.5 Level Measurement

6.5.1 Float Switches

6.5.2 Magnetic Level Gauges

6.5.3 Capacitive Level Gauges

6.5.4 Conductive Level Gauges

6.5.5 Ultrasonic Level Gauges

6.5.6 Hydrostatic Level Gauges

6.5.7 Microwave Level Gauges

6.5.8 Level Measurement by Bubbler Pipes

6.6 Flow Measurement

6.6.1 Flowmeter Types

6.6.2 Selecting a Flowmeter

6.6.3 Installation and Maintenance

6.7 Other Types of Sensors

6.7.1 Torque and Power Meters

6.7.2 Conductivity and pH Meters

6.7.3 Gas Analysis

6.7.4 Angular Speed and Limit Value Sensors

6.7.5 Limit Value Sensors

6.7.6 Oil Mist Detectors

6.7.7 Viscosity Meters

6.7.8 Water Ingress Detectors

6.7.9 Measurement of Electrical Quantities

6.7.10 Wireless Sensors and Networks

6.8 Control Valves

6.8.1 Seat Valves

6.8.2 Butterfly Valves

6.8.3 Ball and Ball Segment Valves

6.8.4 Valve Sizing

6.8.5 Valve Characteristics

6.8.6 Valve Cavitation, Noise and Vibration

6.8.7 Actuators and Positioners

6.9 Sensors for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems

6.9.1 Turbidity

6.9.2 pH

6.9.3 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

6.9.4 Exhaust Gas Analysis

6.10 Glossary


A6.1 Degrees of Protection for Electrical Equipment

A6.1.1 IEC Classification

A6.1.2 NEMA Classification

A6.1.3 Conversion of NEMA Enclosures Type to IEC Classification Designations

A6.2 Hazardous Area Classification – Europe

A6.2.1 Zones

A6.2.2 Gas Groups

A6.2.3 Protection Types

A6.2.4 Temperature Codes

A6.3 ATEX Directive

Chapter 7 Automation Systems Project, Testing and Operation

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Classification Society Rules

7.2.1 Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) Rules for Automation Systems

7.3 Failure Mode Effect Analysis

7.3.1 FMEA Regulations

7.3.2 FMEA/FMECA Procedure

7.4 International Standards

7.4.1 IEC 61508: Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems

7.4.2 ISO 17894:2005 – Ships and marine technology – Computer applications – General principles for the development and use of programmable electronic systems in marine applications

7.4.3 ISO 13407:1999 Human-centred design processes for interactive systems

7.5 Automation Systems Project

7.5.1 System Basic Requirements

7.5.2 System Detailed Engineering and Specification

7.5.3 Functional Design Specification

7.5.4 Factory Acceptance Test

7.5.5 System Installation

7.5.6 System Testing

7.5.7 Maintenance and Service

7.5.8 Spare Parts

Chapter 8 Advanced Applications of Automation Systems

8.1 Condition-based Maintenance Systems

8.1.1 Overall Equipment Effectiveness

8.1.2 Maintenance Management

8.1.3 Vibration Monitoring

8.1.4 Vibration Measurement

8.1.5 Oil Analysis

8.1.6 Thermography

8.1.7 Engine Performance Monitoring

8.1.8 Electrical Equipment Condition Monitoring

8.1.9 Integration of CBM with the Automation System

8.1.10 Measuring the Performance of CBM

8.2 Electronic Control of Diesel Engines

8.2.1 Control Functions

8.2.2 Electronic Governor Applications

8.2.3 Multi-channel Tacho (MCT) System

8.3 Dynamic Positioning (DP)

8.3.1 History of DP

8.3.2 Basic Principles of DP

8.3.3 Modelling and Filtering

8.3.4 Elements of a DP System

8.3.5 Examples of DP Operations

8.3.6 DP Vessel Operations

8.3.7 Worksite Approach

8.3.8 Final Setting-up

8.3.9 Failure Modes and Effect Analysis (FMEA)

8.3.10 Classification Society Notations

8.3.11 Consequence Analysis

8.3.12 Watchkeeping

8.3.13 Checklists

8.3.14 Dynamic Positioning Operator (DPO) Training

8.3.15 Conclusions

Chapter 9 Future Views of Automation and Control

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Global Vessel Management System

9.2.1 Navigation System

9.2.2 New Performance Standards of INS, a Further Step to Digital Navigation

9.2.3 Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System (BNWAS)

9.2.4 INS – Conclusions

9.3 Integrated Safety Management (ISM)

9.4 HVAC Control

9.5 Design Considerations

9.6 Functional Integration

9.6.1 Information Layers

9.6.2 Machinery Condition Monitoring

9.6.3 Fast Load Reduction

9.6.4 Thruster Torque Control

9.6.5 Simulation Models

9.6.6 Advisory Systems

9.6.7 Onboard Training System

Chapter 10 Final Guidance and Conclusions

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Identified Problems

10.3 Guidance for Crew Operating Automatic Control Systems

10.4 Guidance to Shipowners and Shipmanagers

10.5 A Design Model for an Integrated Automation System

10.6 Selection Criteria of the Automation System Supplier

10.7 Conclusions

Chapter 11 MARINE 4.0: The Dawn of the Next Generation Ships is Now

11.1 Introduction

11.2 The Enabling Technologies

11.2.1 Internet of Things

11.2.2 Big Data and Data Analytics

11.2.3 Connectivity

11.3 Augmented Reality

11.4 Horizontal and Vertical Integration

11.5 Additive Manufacturing

11.6 Blockchain

11.7 Cyber Security

11.8 Cloud Computing

11.8.1 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

11.8.2 Platform as a Service (PaaS)

11.8.3 Software as a Service (SaaS)

11.9 Artificial Intelligence

11.10 Digital Twin

11.11 Radio-frequency Identification (RFID)

11.12 The Path to the Autonomous Ship

11.12.1 Levels of Automation and the Sheridan Scale

11.12.2 Human-centred Automation

11.13 Digital Applications

11.13.1 ABB

11.13.2 Wärtsilä

11.13.3 Kongsberg Maritime/Rolls-Royce Marine

11.14 Rules, Regulations and Standards

11.14.1 International Maritime Organization

11.14.2 Classification Societies

11.14.3 Bureau Veritas

11.14.4 Lloyd’s Register (LR)

11.14.5 IMO Resolution MSC.302(87) (2010)

11.14.6 OneNet

11.15 Conclusions

11.16 References

Alex Stefani ME (Marine Engineer)

Alex Stefani, born in Genova, graduated as a marine engineer from the Nautical Institute ‘San Giorgio’ in Genova. After military service in the Italian Navy, he attended a post-graduate course in marine automation at a High Technical School. He was then employed by the Italian daughter company of Jungner Instrument AB, a Swedish Group pioneer of electrical control systems for ships. His first occupation was as service and commissioning engineer of automation systems on board newbuildings at various shipyards in Italy and abroad. Later, he moved to the technical department of the company, tasked with developing the basic and detailed design of automation systems for different types of merchant vessels.

In 1984, he supervised the sales, design and commissioning of the first integrated automation system for the Repubbliche Marinare-class multi-purpose vessels, built for the Grimaldi Group. Later, he took positions in the sales and marketing division of the company, and was then appointed Director of the Marine Division.

The Marine Division was sold to the ABB Group in 1990, becoming the Marine Automation Business Unit of ABB Industria. During that period, Alex was actively involved in the integrated automation system project for the cruise vessel ‘Costa Classica’ built for Costa Crociere, which was followed by a series of diesel-electric cruise vessels built for Holland America Line, the Statendam-class. These vessels were the first to have an integrated solution for the automation system, power generation and distribution system, and electric propulsion system delivered and coordinated by a single company.

In early 2000, Alex participated in the basic design of the automation systems for a new generation of naval vessels for the Italian Navy, having the requirement of a high level of automation to reduce manning. The first vessels having this new design concept were equipped with an integrated platform management system (IPMS), enabling full vessel control by a minimum crew. Afterwards, Alex took part in the design of the IPMS for the ‘Cavour’ aircraft carrier, one of the largest and most complex projects of its kind.

His most recent position was as General Manager at Consilium Italy – Marine & Safety, one of the market leaders of navigation, safety and environmental safety systems.

He is a Member of IMarEST and a Member of the Expert Group ‘Electrical and Automation’ of Registro Italiano Navale, the Italian Classification Society.

He is also a lecturer in marine automation systems at the Italian Maritime Academy and has presented technical papers at marine conferences, such as NAV (Italy), SCSS (USA), HSMC (Italy), ICMES (Finland) and INEC (UK).

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Alex Stefani ME (Marine Engineer)