Sumitomo selects Light Structures hull monitoring systems for newbuild tankers

Sumitomo selects Light Structures hull monitoring systems for newbuild tankers

Light Structures, supplier of fibre optic condition monitoring systems for maritime applications, has entered into an agreement with Japanese shipbuilder Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering (SHI-ME) for the delivery of comprehensive hull stress and fatigue monitoring systems on two newbuild 115,000 deadweight tonne (dwt) aframax crude oil tankers.

Hull stress monitoring is usually the preserve of larger ships and platforms, or very specialised vessels, but its deployment on aframax vessels reflects a growing interest in long-term structural monitoring due to the safety and financial benefits it can enable, for instance, by helping to extend the operational lifespan of a ship.

Leveraging Light Structures’ SENSFIB technology portfolio, with solutions already deployed on more than 300 large and specialist vessels, the adopted customised hull stress monitoring system will provide precise and actionable real-time data that will empower the aframax captains and navigators to reduce the impact of dynamic forces such as whipping, slamming and shearing while underway.

The SENSFIB installations will also help SHI-ME verify its latest v design by measuring stress loading over time and comparing it to design values. When integrated with a condition-based monitoring (CBM) system, long-term stress and fatigue measurements can enable servicing regimes designed to add years of useful life to a ship.

Light Structures is reportedly the only company in the world to offer specialised structural stress monitoring using fibre optics and Fibre Bragg Grating technology (FBG), a solution that delivers more accurate data while reducing cost and complexity when compared to less resilient electro-mechanical systems. Uniquely, SENSFIB sensors are installed using a powerful adhesive, negating the need for any welding, and with no moving parts there is no requirement for the annual recalibration that all competing systems need.

The tankers are due for delivery in Q2 2023 and Q3 2023.

“We believe that we should keep ships healthy because it improves the ship charterer’s reputations, increases resale values and reduces the pain-points such as insurance costs. Our target is to supply more healthy ships to our clients using our in-house ship monitoring system AVEDASTM (Automatic Voyage and Engine Data Acquisition System). By adopting a structural health monitoring system like SENSFIB from Light Structures, AVEDASTM will become even more valuable to our clients,” said Yoshinori Tagaya, senior engineer, SHI-ME.

“We are delighted that SHI-ME has recognised the advantages of our fibre optic measurement technology and tasked us to deliver, install and commission turnkey solutions for its new mid-sized tankers,” said Goetz Vogelmann, sales director, Light Structures. “Japan is an important market and we’re confident we can demonstrate the understanding, trust and ‘kaizen’ that are vital for our future growth in the country.