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Smart BWTS Feature

Smart BWTS Feature

ERMA FIRST FIT - Artificial Intelligence

ERMA FIRST FIT is the first BWTS with embedded Artificial Intelligence powered by METIS Cyber Technology platforms. It offers users real-time remote BWMS operation monitoring. The unique machine-learning feature provides important information to the user and allows critical decisions to be made prior to any ballasting/de-ballasting operations. The system also offers the facility for the preparation of Port State Control reporting documentation.

Real-time monitoring and intelligent data analysis on the cloud for the first Smart BWTS by ERMA FIRST

Real-time monitoring and intelligent data analysis on the cloud for the first Smart BWTS by ERMA FIRST.

ERMA FIRST, the maritime-focused environmental engineering group best-known for its successful Ballast Water Treatment System, invests in innovation and offers the first smart BWTS equipped with real- time monitoring and advanced analytics functionality provided through a hi-tech, cloud-based infrastructure.

The Ballast Water Treatment System by ERMA FIRST is designed and manufactured according to the highest standards. It contributes to the development of a more sustainable and green shipping industry and ensures compliance with the regulatory framework. At the same time it is able to protect the environment under the most challenging circumstances. After-sales services of the highest level is a necessity to ensure the operation of the system in the most efficient way.

Appling cutting-edge technologies on the domains together with IoT, Cloud Computing, A.I. and Data Analytics, ERMA FIRST – in collaboration with METIS CYBERSPACE TECHNOLOGY – has developed the most advanced monitoring and analysis system for its BWTS. METIS A.I. emulates the thinking process of an expert engineer and is able to generate crucial KPIs, valuable insights, customised reports and real-time alerts about critical events.

This recently introduced functionality further enhances ERMA FIRST’s after-sales capabilities and enables the company to serve the client vessels fitted with its BWTS in real-time.

Ensures the health of the BWT system and monitors its operational condition
Ensures the efficient operation of the system reducing the operation cost
Ensures that operation is according to the regulatory framework and avoids unexpected costs
Eliminates human errors and reduces maintenance cost

The solution is implemented through a significant upgrade which is made in the control unit of the BWTS. This enables the automated acquisition of BWT related data in real time while at the same time enhances the processing capability and intelligence of the unit enabling the proper control, cleaning, preparation and transfer of the data to the cloud. The control unit is equipped with a METIS IoT monitoring device which every 15s keeps track of the following:

Valve position
Ballast pump operation
Filter operation
Water flow, temperature, salinity and chloride
Dosimeter pump operation
Electrolytic cells power consumption
Control unit alarms
Geographic location of the vessel

All collected data is transmitted to the cloud every 15min through the vessel’s satellite broadband connection.

The data collected from the system onboard are enriched and synchronized with AIS and GIS data (ECA zones, environmental protected areas, fishing areas, etc.), and analysed by hundreds of microservices in the same way that an expert engineer would do. This Artificial Intelligence system is able to provide valuable information in the form of dashboards, reports, notifications, alerts and calculated KPIs to the users through multiple user interfaces, any time, any place and through any device.

The embedded GIS Server offers the ability to evaluate the position of the vessel during the ballasting/de-ballasting operation and project relevant locations and events on the map. The Users can be instantly informed through email, SMS, MS Teams or Skype in case of:

Critical alerts from BWT control unit
At the beginning and the end of each BWT operation
Any BWTS operation in specific areas

The user interface is of crucial importance and ERMA FIRST has provided multiple options for the user to access the required information.

The most frequently used method to provide data visualisation and evaluate a case or an incident is via the Dashboard. Through ERMA FIRST’s web portal, authorised users can access multiple dashboards which visualise the operational conditions of the BWTS for any period in time. The Time graphs provide information on the pumps, filters and valves status, water salinity, temperature and chloride, energy of the electrolytic cells and the system’s alarms.

Additionally, authorised users are able to receive email reports covering the operation of the BWTS either on demand for any time period or on a regular basis according to a predefined schedule. These reports are structured according to the regulations providing information regarding the time, the duration, the location and the mode of BWT operation. Moreover, extra templates can be defined according to the customers’ needs.

Having adopted a “customer first” approach, ERMA FIRST provides seamless interoperability with the most commonly used BI tools (Tableau, Targit, Power BI) so that the engineers can continue using their preferred or existing application to analyse the data, create graphs and reports as well as analyse algorithms.

The chatbot functionality is one of the most innovative aspects of the system. Users are able to communicate with the platform in plain English, in the same way they communicate with their colleagues, through messaging applications such as Microsoft Teams. The chatbot forwards any request by the user to the BWT Agent which is a specialised software module specialised on the specific knowledge domain which is responsible to analyse the necessary data and provide the requested information on the fly. Through this innovative interface, powered by AI, executives or engineers are able to get answers to simple questions such as “When or where was the last BWT operation”, request advanced analytics and customised reports or even set specific alerting notifications.

With the launch of its Smart BWTS, ERMA FIRST enhances its Total Care, full customer support coverage. ERMA FIRST’s expert engineers are able to provide top quality support to customers, helping them to optimise the maintenance of the BWTS and ensure optimum performance based on real-time data and intelligent analytics in the most convenient and accurate way. Additionally, customers are provided with a clear picture of the operation of the system at any point in time and for all of their vessels. This ensures the longevity of their investment and helps them comply with to the regulatory framework.