Integrated Bridge Systems – A New Breakthrough For 2017

10.02.2017 | Integrated Bridge Systems, IT Systems, Navigation

In recent years integrated bridge systems (IBS) for superyachts have advanced substantially in both usability and aesthetics, observes advanced marine electronics specialist Admarel B.V., an Alewijnse Marine company. The superyacht owners that they work with typically expect something that looks good as well as ensures a safe and compliant cruising experience, but even for them this isn’t always easy. The sheer diversity of navigation, communications and control systems often means that even the latest bridges end up with a range of independent stations, each catering to a different system and each with its own operating manual and training requirements.

With that in mind, the ultimate objective for Admarel and its fellow companies involved in  superyacht electronics supply and integration has been to achieve what is already being delivered by the automotive and aerospace sectors – a clean, unified look for ‘control centres’ where multiple systems deliver their data and control using via a harmonised interface.

The good news is that at the start of 2017 the engineers at Admarel believe that their goal has finally been achieved with the arrival of the Synapsis NX integrated navigation system (INS) from Raytheon Anschütz. Despite the name, the Synapsis NX is about much more than just navigation. In fact it goes even beyond what most captains would regard as an IBS. This is a fully flexible IT network that will receive and distribute data and commands from anywhere and to anywhere it is needed. It is not necessarily limited to just navigation, but will also embrace other ship’s systems.

On the surface, for the captain, and for the style-conscious owner, it means a bridge with a reduced number of identical displays together with a minimal series of physical controls. This can be laid out in any format desired, and each display is capable of displaying any information set from any sensor and controlling any navigational application  The control of auxiliary functions on the bridge – such as wipers, lights, and switches – can be moved from the physical devices to via touchscreen displays using the same graphical look and feel. Additional displays with the same, or restricted, capabilities can be fitted anywhere else in the yacht

This is achieved by feeding all the sensor data into the system centrally via LAN converters and making it available together with charts, radar, video and other feeds via a redundant LAN network. The key to the entire system is the software / applications that lie at its heart. These run on standardised marine PCs that can be fitted anywhere on the yacht, typically in racks in the data centre in a temperature and humidity controlled  area that is easy accessible. This keeps them in an ideal environment for such equipment, and by saving space allows the design of an open bridge layout.

Furthermore, Raytheon Anschutz is the first manufacturer to have a digital KVM Matrix integrated with the INS. This is a huge step forward in allowing the flexibility for the IBS to run any application on the main bridge displays. In addition to radar, ECDIS and it opens up the possibility of showing any input available on board the yacht such as AMCS, BOS, thermal cameras, DP, forward-looking sonar and so much more, on any of the bridge displays.

In addition to the seamless functionality, this network configuration brings a range of more practical benefits. The design possibilities for the layout of a bridge are limitless, and  the use of standardised components and modular software makes customisation and expansion straightforward. By having all the hardware elsewhere in the data centre, the bridge installation is also greatly simplified. Also, by distributing all the sensor data and status information via LAN to every workstation, this delivers less cabling compared to conventional systems, as well as enhanced flexibility

Admarel welcomes the arrival of the Synapsis NX as it represents the next stage in the evolution in integrated bridge systems with its seamless user interface, flexibility and user-centric approach. Its ability to deliver genuine gains in efficiency, safety and security afloat can only be another step in the right direction. As a leading supplier of Raytheon Anschütz IBS systems to the superyacht industry, Admarel is ready to support yards and yachts looking to take advantage of this new and exciting technology.

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