Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed an agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to jointly develop an innovative vessel-steering gear.

To be equipped with sensing capability and supported by big data analysis, the gear will be able to improve the vessel’s reliability and energy-saving operation.

Once developed, the gear will be installed on a very large crude carrier (VLCC), which is currently being built at KHI for MOL.

The steering gear will feature sensors to monitor pressure, flow rate, temperature of hydraulic oil, consumed power, as well as a high-speed data acquisition system with large storage capacity.

The high-speed data acquisition system will be designed to accumulate data from the steering gear and from other types of data sources such as vessel speed, course, engine load and rudder angle during a voyage.

“Detail analysis will be carried out to improve vessel reliability and energy-saving operation.”

Detail analysis will be carried out to improve vessel reliability and energy-saving operation.

According to MOL, the project will help develop the future ‘intelligence function-equipped steering gear’, which will ultimately enhance the vessel’s manoeuvrability, among others.

Scheduled to be completed by March 2021, the project is part of MOL’s technological development initiative, ISHIN NEXT – MOL SMART SHIP PROJECT.

Launched in 2016, the ISHIN NEXT – MOL SMART SHIP PROJECT is designed to help MOL share its technological development policies with customers and other stakeholders.

The project ultimately helps the company to develop technologies that will enable safer vessel operation and reduce environmental impact.