Remote Monitoring - Is the marine industry ready to have your engine condition monitored remotely?

by Contributor Jaime-Tetrault on ‎05-26-2011 05:06 AM

In the modern marine operating environment today, shipping companies still maintain traditional engine room theories on how to manage installed assets.  However, remote monitoring technology is increasing at such a pace that these asset suppliers have increasing capabilities to advise the engine room staff on the condition, deterioration, and eventual failure of most types of equipment.  Caterpillar / MaK is looking at introducing remote monitoring for our marine product portfolio to help customers in improving reliability and extending maintenance intervals.  Naval Architects will shortly need to understand how to design and install this technology during the new-build period to optimize the benefits to the owners.  Owners need to begin to understand this new technology in order to build the advantages into their operating procedures and financial models.


As we begin this journey, Caterpillar is looking for input from marine professionals and industry leaders on how we can leverage this new technology to our customer's advantage.  Please provide your thoughts on marine remote monitoring, realistic prices associated with this technology, and most importantly how could this be an advantage to you in lowering your operating costs.  Your thoughts in and input will be considered for use in a technology paper being prepared for the winter 2011 conference season. 

by Contributor det
on ‎05-26-2011 03:20 PM

Yes, indeed the marine market is moving towards more condition-based monitoring. Many current customers, such as Edison Chouest, exclusively use CAT engines and monitor all of these engines using the Monico CDL Gateway. However, the biggest issue with this "only onboard" solution, is the time and expertise to perform thorough analysis from a Preventive Maintenance perspective. The greatest value CAT can add is to use their expertise in analyzing long-term data trends to identify potential situation before they arise. In a lot of cases, a product like the Monico Gateway can already supply all necessary data, including complete fault code support, but a path needs to be allowed safely off the vessel, so experts can access the data. This can usually be accomplised by using the data logging function and then syncing the log files with a remote computer off the ship via the internet. However, security issues must be dealt with, but at least with the log file only method it is much easier to provide for security.


Caterpillar is now piloting a Condition-based monitoring solution in the Global Petroleum market with Gas compressors where they not only monitor the CAT engine, but also the compressor that it is powering. THIS IS THE REAL TICKET. The customer wants to know how all the attached machinery is operating as well as the engine.


I applaud CAT for taking the steps to match competitors such as Wartsila that already offer this type of turnkey service.

by New member Credfield
on ‎05-28-2011 03:33 PM
Suggested inputs for remote monitoring: 1. All CAT equipment should be monitored. I have a GPLink system on the vessel and it is interfaced only with the engines. No Genset coverage. This should be a priority. 2. Whoever has responsibility for the remote monitoring should be paying attention on an ongoing basis and not just when a call or email come in. The system could be better utilized to get ahead of a brewing problem vs being used for troubleshooting only. Carl
by Super Contributor
on ‎05-31-2011 10:05 AM

I think there are two major things CAT will need to do to be successful in offering a comprehensive monitoring system,


First, a huge improvement needs to take place in how CAT provides information from their controls, the folks at E&E must think this stuff is gold.  Even with the improvements provided by the PL1000, it is still time consuming and difficult, especially compared to many of the competitors, to retrieve, scale and present information in a usable format to a customer system.  Data should be retrievable using a minimum of transfer commands or block reads, and scaling straight forward and easy to accomplish, like similar pressure readings should use similar and industry standard scaling.  Limit decial places to what is really needed, and try to stay away from two word data types unless really needed.  Group data in a logical manner for the end user, not to what is convienent to CAT.  On the power side I know of large number of integrators who have recommended to their customers not to use CAT generators with CAT controls because of the difficulty in bringing that info into building management and SCADA systems, so learn from that.


Second, learn from the MMS systems applied for many years.  Too many alarms, sensor problems, inflexible programming and inability to inteface to other shipboard systems never let it work to it's full potential.  Every vessel and owner will have unique requirements, so you'll never make a one size fits all solution.  But a tool box full of reusable blocks of code, well designed and tested hardware, and the right people to put systems together based on customer needs will likely have a greater chance of success.  Go find industry partners, look at what has worked instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, and make a long term commitment.  Don't put it out then pull it back or field a piece of junk.


So once you have the data and it goes out to the factory and the end user, who will go thru that boatload of information to find the trend deviations, spikes and dips, and other subtle abnormalities that could indicate upcoming problems?  As part of this process will you provide software with trending and filtering capabilities?  Will it be able to summerize the information into a format someone not technical can comprehend? These type systems, especially in their infancy will not come cheap, so will you be able to provide a system that satisfies the bean counters it has worth and still meets the needs of the engineers who will use it?


I worked on a research vessel last year with an ABB diesel electric propulsion system, and it had a very nice data collection system, the only problem was it collected so much data every day that when we started looking to identify a trend that would lead us to the root cause of the problem, sorting thru the data took a huge amount of time. The needed information was there all the time, but the crew couldn't recognize the subtle changes, and those supposedly overwatching the system also missed it. So managing the information will play a huge role in making the system successful I think.


My two cents worth, Mike L.

by Contributor det
on ‎06-01-2011 09:08 AM

Mike L:

The product you are asking for already exists and is used on thousands of CAT engines. The CDL Gateway is  pre-configured solution that goes directly to the CAT Data Link and sees all engine parameters and fault codes. Standard versions are available for Allen Bradley, GE Fanuc, Siemens, Omron, Modbus, BACnet, and SNMP and each of these versions can be modified to meet your needs in the field or pre-delivery. In addition, it has (3) serial ports and an Ethernet port that are individually programmable for a seperate protocol either Master or Slave and the Ethernet port supports four protocols simultaneously. This is all in addition to the engine. So, this is a complete data aggregation/protocol conversion solution. Check it out at

by Super Contributor
on ‎06-01-2011 04:46 PM

So why exactly do I need to install another protocol converter when so many controls vendors today can do what I want directly from the control?  I'm hoping Monico has improved greatly since my early experience with some of their products, and fully realizing that many of the issues encountered were not their fault, the main thrust of my comments are that CAT needs to be able to provide information from their controls in industry statndard formats without spending hours and many lines of code parsing information into usable data.


My personal opinion is that if additional third party interfaces are needed to bring out performance and operational data for use by building or vessel management or a SCADA type system, then CAT has failed to deliver a customer freindly product.


My two cents worth,

by Contributor det
on ‎07-18-2011 09:41 AM

Yes, I understand where you are coming from on your comment about needing a third-party device. However, to expect CAT to supply the data in all the common formats needed, is not their strength. That is why they are beginning to work with companies like Monico. For example, if you have a Siemens PLC power control system, it is not easy nor inexpensive to get Modbus into the PLC. It is even more expensive to get modbus into Allen Bradley systems. However, Monico has standard products that do all the gain application and unit conversions and push the data DIRECTLY into Allen Bradley, GE Fanuc, Siemens, and Omron PLC's. In addition to this control function, they can ALSO provide engine data AND PLC data to the Monitoring system via Modbus. So, you still have to integrate into the CONTROL AND MONITORING system, and to expect CAT to deal with this level of complexity is not realistic in todays world. CAT has their hands full just dealing with the ever changing emissions landscape. That is why CAT is partnering with companies like Monico who deal with systems integration EVERY Day.

by Contributor Jaime-Tetrault
on ‎09-09-2011 07:06 AM

Excellent feedback!  I'm getting ready to begin drafting a technical paper incorporating all your feedback and the strategic direction that Caterpillar Marine Power Systems is considering for our future product.  There are many conflicting ideas on the path forward, however, one message is clear... make it simple and for the most basic version, make it free.  That one common voice in the market is likely the foundation for our future product offering.  Thanks to everyone who contributed and please feel free to add any more ideas you may have that would add value to the technical paper.

by New member helica
on ‎12-10-2012 02:08 AM

I understand that this blog was posted more then one year ago, but it's very interesting and actual now. Our Company develop own software and using standard communication equipment to transfer data from vessel to owner online in real time. At present moment we have few merchant vessels where system was installed and show from 300 – 500 parameters on line including navigation equipment, engine monitoring system, cargo system and any sensors can be connected on request. Main idea of our solution to connect different type equipment and not depend on makers on existing vessels with low value of data to be transferred (around 300 Mb per month).  Our next step and we already start working on pre failure protocol to help ship owner get warning of future damage by combining different alarms in to pre warning alarms. If It’s interesting to you do not hesitate to contact by e-mail .cy and check short description of our product on 

by Contributor Jaime-Tetrault
on ‎01-18-2013 09:43 AM

Thanks Helica - I took a look at your services via the link you provided.  There are many synergies with our Services offering and what Caterpillar is developing today.  However, in the area of services you provide, we are already in the same space.  Please keep "tuned-in" to some announcements in 2013 about Pilots and Partnerships from Caterpillar in the vessel monitoring activities.

About the Author
  • I joined Caterpillar in 2001 in the Extended Service Coverage (extended warranty) department of Cat Insurance (division of Cat Financial). I have always loved the water, ships, boats and the challenges of this industry and moved to Caterpillar Marine Power Systems (CMPS) in 2007. I was fortunate to be able to work at CMPS Headquarters in Hamburg, Germany for 2 years and now reside at our Marine Center of Excellence in South Carolina, USA. As the Marine Parts Manager for Cat Marine Parts I am able to work cross functionally with our regional product support teams, our extensive dealer network, customers and bring this knowledge and customer expectations to Caterpillar's incredible resources to design new and innovative product support solutions to meet our customer expectations. This gives me great pride and enjoyment to meet and exceed your expectations and promote the Cat Marine Brand.
  • In 2005, I started my career at Caterpillar as an intern in Kiel, after that I worked as a student and then a temporary employee. I finally became a permanent employee in 2008, working at the Marine World headquarters in Hamburg. Through all these years I was supporting and leading Marketing projects from various areas, including Electronic Sales Tools, Shows, Novelties etc. By May 01, 2011 my job role changed to the current one. In this position I am leading several Electronic Marketing projects such as all Marine and Oil & Gas Social Media activities.
  • After around 10 years of good time in mineral & metal industry, the destiny has guided me through BMW, ThyssenKrupp to the Caterpillar station. At the moment I'm serving as a Six Sigma Strategy Black Belt in Caterpillar Marine Power System.
  • I joined the Caterpillar Team 2007 and worked in several positions most likely in Product Support. 2008 I passed the 6 Sigma Black Belt Training and has leaded various sales and process related projects. After the certification as a 6 Sigma Black Belt I joined the CMPS Product Support Team as a Global Marketing Representative.
  • A maritime academy graduate and a 17 year employee of Caterpillar with 25 years of marine experience, currently managing the Caterpillar Marine Power System Product Support Division representing all product health, product support, parts sales and distribution development activities for Cat and MaK brand marine engines.
  • Originally from Spain, I moved to Hamburg, Germany, in 2010 to write my Master’s Thesis in Industrial Engineering. Upon its completion, I had the opportunity to join Caterpillar Marine Power Systems as an intern at their headquarters. During this period, I supported, in various capacities, sales into the Cargo and European Inland Waterways markets, as well as Offshore Wind opportunities. I am currently working as a Junior Territory Sales Manager in the Europe, Africa, Middle East and CIS Sales Team.
  • Born in Brazil, Luiz joined the Caterpillar engine team in 1998 and has worked in different positions covering marine service, product application and sales. Currently he is a Black Belt under the Caterpillar Marine group.
  • A veteran of 12.5 years Naval service, in the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. 3.5 years as a Marine Application and Installation Engineer at a CAT dealership. I have been working for Caterpillar Marine Power Systems since 2008. My time at Caterpillar has been spent helping to develop global emissions solutions for 3500 marine engines.
  • I am the Asia Pacific contact for marine parts marketing. With marine customers being the most mobile group, with operations spanning the entire globe, there are always new challenges and learning opportunties to engage in. Life in marine is never boring!
  • I have been involved in sales and marketing of Caterpillar marine products for almost 45 years including 10 years in the U.K. where I worked on North Sea oil and gas projects. For the past 35 years I have various roles within the marine business of Toromont Cat where I have assembled a portfolio of Caterpillar and MaK powered new construction and repower projects including ferries, Great Lakes bulk-carriers and self-unloaders, Coast Guard vessels and pleasure craft. I admit that my knowledge has come from a hands-on approach to engine sales by wearing coveralls and a hard hat rather than a business suit. I am based in Toronto and am an active member of the C.I.Mar. E. Great Lakes Branch and participate in SNAME Great Lakes/Great Rivers meetings in the U.S.
  • I ensure that our Cat global dealer network has the tools required to support our Propulsion Solutions products including our Cat Three60 Precision Control.
  • I have been at Caterpillar for nearly 31 years. All this time has been related to Diesel engines, with the first 23 years in Fuel Systems, the next 3 in the Engine Center, and the last 4 here in Hamburg, Germany, as the Worldwide Demand Manager for Marine and Petroleum MaK engines. In this role, I touch many areas, from concept to delivery, from shipyard to factory. I work with Dealers, Sales Managers, Customers, Accountants, and Order Processors, all the way to the factory floor. Those who know me know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • I am a Mechanical Engineer with 17 years of experience with Caterpillar Engine Products, currently working at Caterpillar Marine Power Systems Headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. I am responsible for product support and Dealer development, and support dealers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
  • I am a 33 year employee of Caterpillar and have focused on engines my entire career. For the last 18 years I have worked in the Marine group in various capacities. Since 2004 I have been the Global Marketing Manager for the Pleasure Craft segment, managing all trade shows, advertising, events, and NPI (New Product Introduction) launches.

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