The Mega-Guard Valve Control and Monitoring System (VCMS) provides remote valve and pump control via Operator Workstations to assist the crew in cargo handling, ballasting, anti heeling and fuel oil transfer operations. The Mega-Guard VCMS is mainly applied on product tankers, chemical tankers, supply vessels, container vessels, bulk carriers and Ro-Ro ferries.
The Mega-Guard VCMS consists of Operator Workstations with dedicated mimic diagrams (cargo handling, ballast control, anti heeling and fuel oil transfer) connected to Distributed Processing Units which are built-up with Control Processors, I/O Modules and Serial link I/O Modules. Sensors (level, temperature, pressure, etc.), valves and pumps are directly connected to the I/O Modules and Serial link I/O Modules. The Operator Workstations and the Distributed Processing Units are interconnected via a redundant Ethernet link. The whole system is operating on 19-32VDC supply voltage and moving parts such as hard disk drives are not applied; solid state disks are used instead. The Mega-Guard VCMS is the most reliable system with a MTBF which outperfoms our competitors because of these facts.
The software of Mega-Guard VCMS is standardized as control functions are written with IEC61131-3 compliant building blocks. This guarantees proper and standardized documentation of each control function in order to allow for easy operation and maintenance by ship's crew as well.
The Cargo handling system fully automates the loading and unloading of the cargo tanks. The ship's crew perfoms cargo handling operations from Operator Workstations which provide high resolution mimic diagrams of the cargo system. Cargo pumps and valves are automatically controlled during loading and unloading operations. The Mega-Guard VCMS reads the cargo tank level, tank pressure and tank temperatures through serial interface links or through analog inputs (e.g. 4-20mA, PT100 etc). Various type of tank gauging sensors are supported such as radar, pressure, pneumatic and ultrasonic. Vessel's trim and list are measured in order to accurately calculate cargo tank contents.
A cargo console is typically equipped with two or three Operator Workstations. Pumps and valves can be selected on the cargo mimic diagrams with the Trackball or Touchscreen. A pop-up menu appears in which the pump or valve can be started or opened. Pump speed setting is easily executed by pointing to the sliding bars on the cargo mimic diagrams. Hydraulic power packs are also controlled and monitored by the Mega-Guard VCMS including the main - standby function. Operator Workstations with optional loading computer software are supplied in order to calculate the shear forces and bending moments, the actual / required stability and the damage stability calculations.
The ballast control system provides remote operation of the ballast system from dedicated mimic diagrams on Operator Workstations. The Mega-Guard VCMS monitors the ballast tanks and controls the ballast valves and pumps for safe automatic operation of the ballasting proces. The ballast control system takes into account the cargo handling process for optimal automatic ballasting of the vessel. Automatic procedures for ballast water exchange are included in the ballast control system in order to fulfill the environmental rules regarding ballast water (no discharge of ballast water in port which was taken from another port). Usually, dedicated mimic diagrams are also available on the Mega-Guard VCMS Operator Workstations for operating the hold bilge pumps, fire fighting pumps and tank cleaning operations.
The anti heeling system (AHS) keeps the ship upright during loading and unloading operations. The heel angle is measured by an inclinometer and the Mega-Guard AHS controls the transfer of ballast water in between port and starboard side ballast tanks in order to keep the vessel upright. The whole process is monitored via a dedicated mimic diagram on the Operator Workstation. The ship's crew can set a maximum allowed heel angle (up to 3 degrees as default) which is kept by the Mega-Guard AHS system in automatic mode. Protections are built-in in order to stop the anti heeling process when exceeding a certain heel angle (usually 5 degrees) in full accordance with class rules. The Mega-Guard AHS is included on the Mega-Guard type approval certificates.
The fuel oil transfer system provides the ship's crew with an automatic procedure through dedicated mimic diagrams on Operator Workstations to transfer fuel oil between the various tanks (storage tank, settling tank, day tank, etc) in full accordance with class rules. The Mega-Guard VCMS monitors the level of fuel tanks and controls the fuel manifold valves and pumps for safe transferring of fuel oil to the various tanks. Valves, pumps, level sensors and overfill sensors are connected to Control Processors with I/O Modules, also called Distributed Processing Units. Alarms are generated in case the tank level becomes too high (usually > 92% tank contents) and the transfer process is automatically stopped.
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