Optimisation of maritime climate control

In the ever-evolving world of engineering and maritime innovation, Heinen & Hopman has established itself as a leading company specialising in the design and construction of advanced marine climate control systems ranging from commercial ferries to luxury yachts. The company is known for its dedication to creating comfortable, efficient and reliable environments aboard more than 15,000 vessels worldwide.

Released 2023

For more than half a century, Heinen & Hopman has pioneered the maritime industry. Their expertise in ventilation, cooling and heating has led to smart solutions that not only meet the highest standards of comfort and safety, but also contribute to energy savings and sustainability at sea. With an extensive portfolio of successful projects, Heinen & Hopman has certainly put itself on the map.

 

The road to digitisation

Although Heinen & Hopman is known for their technical expertise, they faced challenges in managing and commissioning the complex climate control systems during the ships’ construction. Verifying the climate control systems, and whether they were functioning properly, often required manual processes resulting in inefficiency, errors and the loss of valuable information.

 

Commissioning App as a solution

To address these challenges, Heinen & Hopman and Ciphix joined forces to develop the “Commissioning App”, built based on Mendix low code technology. This application transformed the way the company manages and validates climate control systems before a vessel is delivered to the customer.

The App’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) focused on the airside part of climate control system balancing. This refers to balancing and optimising air flows. This process ensures that the right amount of air is delivered to the right places in a vessel or space.

The air-side part involves adjusting various components of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, such as the air diffusers, air handling units and dampers, to ensure that there is optimum air distribution.

The next step is digitising the waterside part, which focuses on balancing the water flowing through the heating or cooling system.

The Commissioning App allows engineers to select specific projects via the app on tablets and easily navigate through different areas on board. This digital platform also allows them to capture and analyse detailed measurements of air pressure in pipe systems. Any adjustments required to ensure optimal performance can be noted directly through the app. These changes are recorded, reviewed and approved.

This project was made a success by a close collaboration of end-users with Design and App developers in a scrum team.

 

Accuracy first

The app has not only mapped and streamlined the process, but has also established a uniform standard for each “Commissioning Engineer”, minimising deviations in working methods. Although some deviations still occur, the app is expected to improve management accuracy and efficiency.

 

Centralisation of data

Previously, data was collected through a variety of methods, including Excel and handwritten notes that later had to be entered on the computer. A streamlined approach has now given way. With the Commissioning App, employees can perform checks faster and more efficiently. Moreover, the app offers centralisation of all information, and data accuracy can be ensured.

 

Offline availability with Progressive Web App

The part that the Commissioning Engineer handles, and thus uses the app for, takes place at the shipyard where the ships are built. The Commissioning App is designed to verify, among other things, ventilation and cooling systems installed on ships. The varying internet connectivity within the engineers’ working environment has been taken into account: The app has been developed as a Progressive Web App (PWA), a hybrid version between a regular app and a native app. This allows users to use the app offline, and once internet connectivity is restored, all data entered offline is synchronised. As a plus, this app just runs in the browser, so you don’t need a play or app store!

 

” Engineers want ease of commissioning. The app saves time, reduces paperwork and inspects boats more efficiently. This can even be done without internet, perfect for the shed! – Alexander Gruisen, Consultant, Ciphix

Impact

  1. Improved collaboration: The app facilitates real-time collaboration between different departments and the customer, improving communication and coordination.
  2. Continuous operations: The offline availability of the Commissioning App allows engineers to continue working even when there is no internet connection. This increases their productivity and ensures continuous operations.   
  3. Accurate verification: Digital verification of systems and performance contributes to higher accuracy and reliability of climate control systems working. 
  4. Efficiency and time savings: Using the app saves time and reduces the risk of human error or miscommunication, resulting in more efficient project management.
  5. Digital transformation: All changes and approvals are recorded digitally, creating a clear handover for future reference, and to the customer.
 

New standard in efficiency and precision

  1. By combining engineering knowledge with innovative technology, Heinen & Hopman has transformed their operational processes and set a new standard of efficiency and precision in the management of climate control systems on ships. 

    In the quest for continuous improvement and optimisation, Heinen & Hopman has reached an important milestone with the Commissioning App. The app not only promises to improve the reliability and precision of climate control systems, but also promotes cooperation between managers, project and commissioning engineers, and as such, communication with customers.

     

“The Commissioning App centralises and digitises all data and streamlines the way engineers work.”- Noortje Elbers, Consultant, Ciphix

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