NYK Conducts Demonstration Of New Cargo Hold Monitoring System Featuring IoT Sensors

On December 5, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd. (NBP), and MTI Co., Ltd. (MTI) completed a 35-day experiment using IoT sensors* to measure the holds of dry bulk vessels, effectively confirming the effectiveness of the system in actual voyages.

The quality of the hold environment during the voyage is an important factor in maintaining the quality of marine transport on dry bulk vessels. At present, it is common for crew members to periodically enter the hold to visually check the condition of the cargo, but there are issues such as the risk of crew members overlooking abnormalities and the inability to enter the hold to conduct inspections during rough sea conditions. To solve these problems, technologies for monitoring the hold environment using equipment that requires wired communications and a power supply have been developed, but their use has been limited because they require construction work to be done on the ship and large investments.

The three companies have therefore developed a new system that does not require any construction work on the vessel. The new system is a comprehensive management system for reducing the risk of damage to cargo. It features 24-hour remote monitoring and data collection of the holds of dry bulk vessels, analyses of past data, and visualization of cargo-damage risks based on predictions of future conditions. (Patent pending)

Reducing the risk of cargo damage
Credits: NYK
New Cargo Hold Monitoring System
Credits: NYK
20221206_4-4 (1)
Credits: NYK

In dry bulk vessels, it is difficult to supply power to wireless communication and sensor parts from the hold. IoT sensors using LPWA wireless communication technology** can be used to monitor the transport environment, such as temperature and humidity in the hold, and the sensors can be remotely monitored in real time from the ship’s bridge during the voyage. In addition, the system has a function to notify the crew with alarms or other means if it observes data that could cause damage to the cargo. Furthermore, sensors monitoring temperature and humidity can be replaced to monitor acceleration, water leakage, illumination, CO (carbon monoxide), etc. By accumulating this data, it will be possible to predict conditions based on past data analysis, which is expected to further improve the quality of transport.

The experiment conducted this time was an operational experiment of 24-hour remote monitoring and data collection in the hold. With the cooperation of Nippon Steel Corporation, temperature and humidity sensors were installed in the holds of Global Mirai,*** a steel carrier bound for Mexico, and data was collected. The data was then transmitted to the ship’s bridge, and the status of the holds was monitored from a dedicated PC. In the future, we intend to increase the number of vessels equipped with the system, accumulate more data, and analyze it.

The NYK Group will continue to improve transport quality by developing new technologies and applying existing technologies.

On February 3, 2021, NYK released the “NYK Group ESG Story,” which aims to further integrate ESG into the company’s management strategy and promotes activities that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through business activities. On March 24, 2022, NYK released the updated “NYK Group ESG Story 2022,” which introduces initiatives for integrating ESG into the Group’s management strategies set forth in the “NYK Group ESG Story” and provides a partial explanation of the Group’s sustainable growth strategy from a long-term perspective.

* Sensors connected to a network to collect and manage information as part of IoT innovation, or the Internet of Things, which makes it possible to connect everyday things to the internet.

** Low power wide area (LPWA) wireless communication technology requiring low power consumption to provide long-distance communication

Reference: NYK

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