MAN Energy Solutions – a new data collaboration platform for all types of connected equipment

May 14 2020


MAN Energy Solutions has launched a platform “mýa” to enable integration of live data streams from sensors on engines, turbines and any connected equipment, which will be spun out in an independent company.

MAN Energy Solutions (MAN ES) has launched a digital platform “mýa”, to share, integrate and distribute streaming data originating from sensors on equipment such as engines. The mýa platform will form the offering of an independent company, with other companies, including competitors, invited to join and share ownership.

 

The purpose of mýa is to act as a broker of live data, a data collaboration platform, facilitating the integration of data streams from different sources, regardless of the manufacturer of the equipment, enabling a view of the total ecosystem with inter-relationships and dependencies.

 

In one example, equipment associated with engines can include pumps, fluid monitors, generators, compressors, turbines and emission controls.

 

Sensor data comes with a time stamp, time series data,(the time the data reading was taken.)  Sensors on different pieces of equipment might record data at different intervals and quantities, but are typically time stamped. mýa can align all the time stamps, so you know what all the sensors were recording at a single point in time. This is essential if you want to analyse the data together and look at a complete view of the combined system.

 

Mýa does not store any of the data, only meta data (such as the volume of data handled). All data is owned by the asset owner unless agreed otherwise, and any data collaboration is controlled via contacts and agreements.

 

In this way, mýa could be seen as a plumbing system for data from different systems and different partners.

 

Right now, if a shipping company wants to work with sensor data from equipment from different manufacturers, it is really difficult. This could be analogous to the hassle of having to go to a street stand pipe to collect your drinking water in the 1800s. mýa is the equivalent of making drinking water available to you on demand through a tap, together with gas, which can be combined to make hot water, in your house, provided with a standard fitting you can easily connect your boiler to.

 

From its own products

The initiative of mýa, originated in the digital department of MAN ES, which was building “tools” to monitor and maintain the performance of products such as large engines and turbines in operation in the field, and recognised the need for data collaboration and standardisation, across industries such as marine, power plant and oil and gas refinery applications, where its products operate today.

 

MAN ES has its own asset performance platform, MAN CEON, which powers MAN PrimeServ Assist, a solution to optimize operational performance of equipment in service.

 

This means that the investment MAN made into developing a parallel platform for its own purposes, is now being made available to others.

 

Today if you use MAN´s PrimeServ Assist you are actually using the mýa service, which is operating in the background.

 

Inviting others

MAN ES is inviting other manufacturers, including competitors, to take ownership and join the board of mýa. It is ultimately seeking to have 5 to 10 owners, and thousands of members OEMs and asset owners alike, from all types of industry, not just engine or turbine related. “The aim is to give the control totally to the non-profitmaking organisation,” says Dr Alan Atkins, CEO of mýa Connection GmbH.

 

Companies who are competitors to MAN ES might say, “We would like to join but we would also like to have a say in what’s being done.” Be being one of the founders, this is absolutely possible and encouraged.

 

Discussions are ongoing with major equipment manufacturers who work closely with MAN, and also with competitors.

 

The costs of running the platform will be shared by the founders – but Dr Atkins emphasises that these are not so high – the organisation will only develop the basic functionalities. It will just administer the service and ensure uptime and security. “Applications” and analytics, will be developed where required by the members and third parties as required.

 

If companies decided they did not want to stop working with mýa at any time, they would not lose access to any data streams, just the integration service which mýa provides.

 

MAN ES has formed a new company, mýa Connection GmbH, as the vehicle to move forward, with the intention to form a separate independent non-profit making organisation during 2020.

 

Setting up mýa as a legal entity proved quite complex, including managing some anti-trust issues involved with having competitors working together. But now, “it is open to everybody,” he said. “Including MAN ES’ biggest competitors, in fact I would welcome that.”

 

Dr Alan Atkins, CEO of mýa Connection GmbH and mýa Foundation, has a long career working in the “machine to machine” sector, including a role as global head of M2M/IoT with consulting giant CGI, then VP and global head of IOT with Wipro, one of the world´s biggest IT and services companies.

 

“We already have a platform”

One of the common reactions when asked about joining mýa, Dr Atkins says, is equipment companies (OEMs) saying they “already have a platform.”

 

But for most equipment companies, their “platform” is simply a means for them to handle their equipment sensor data to a cloud system where they monitor and predict performance of that specific piece of equipment, he says.

 

mýa can add value to this by integrating their existing cloud hosted data with data from other equipment companies, to be able to look at the total system view. So it is not in competition with other proprietary platforms, but a supplement and an enabler.

 

One login

In the short term, the biggest benefit might be that shipping superintendents for example, only need to log in once online to see data from all their equipment from multiple manufacturers, integrated together.

 

“One of the ship fleet owners has said, I’m so fed up of 20 different reports from different pieces of equipment and not being able to compare the data in one go to obtain a system view,” Dr Atkins says.

 

“When I talk to technical services within OEM organisations, offering after sales services to clients, they say this is great, this is what clients really want. A way to communicate between different platforms without being locked into a commercial third party´s offering.”

 

With this integrated view, you can monitor all the alarms across all of your assets – the status of different engines, running speed, exhaust gases, your pump performance, scrubber performance, and other data you might want to monitor.

 

When viewing the assets within mýa, you are able to switch views to the OEM´s own asset view and access their applications and graphical representations without having to login again. You don’t need to manage lots of different passwords. Authentication has already been carried in the various OEM systems. This provides the user with a single pane of glass.

 

Some shipping companies are already encouraging their suppliers to make data available through the system because it makes their life easier, Dr Atkins says.

 

Equipment as a system

Building on this, one of the biggest areas for potential value from mýa is in how it enables shipping companies, for example, to look at their equipment as a system, rather than as a collection of individual components.

 

There are many dependencies between equipment. For example, a slowing down pump will mean a reduced flow rate in a pipeline, which will have an impact on whatever is downstream. A gradual loss of performance somewhere can have an impact somewhere else.

 

Also, if you might want to monitor the performance of a whole system. On a ship, for example, you might want to monitor the entire propulsion system, which includes the torque on the shaft, the speed through water, as well as sensor readings from the engine itself.

 

The platform was designed to integrate the various data streams, enabling people to do analytics at a “higher” level. It also allows a view across multiple “systems” such as a fleet of ships or power plants.

 

Analytics and apps

The platform can form a basis for analytics. Shipping companies, suppliers and other software companies can build tools to generate useful insights from the data.

 

Data is still owned and controlled by shipping companies, power generator etc, as the asset owner, but they can see it is in their interest to allow access to it by other companies.

 

For example, apps could be built enabling shipping companies to monitor vessel performance, and support decision making about the best time to do maintenance or replace components, or get early warning about emerging problems, with alerts.

 

The app could incorporate other data, such as vessel position (from AIS) or weather data. This way, you can get more ‘context’ to the equipment sensor data – such as showing that the engine was working harder because there were high waves.

 

mýa works with about 80 standard open APIs, and can provide API keys, so it is possible for a third party software company to be able to integrate with the data given the necessary permission by the data owner, the asset owner.

 

The service itself could help drive more use of data standards and standard KPIs across the industry.

 

Supplier engagement

The platform can provide ways for suppliers to become more engaged with their customers during the product lifecycle.

 

Suppliers can monitor the performance of their products in use, and use their enhanced knowledge of how their products operate, to give customers advice.

 

They can also monitor the performance of their installed base of products across multiple customers, to better understand, for example, how their equipment wears and where improvements in design could be made.

 

The data can support selling spare parts and other “aftermarket” services at the right time, generating increase availability and up-time.

 

Satcoms and telecoms

Technical advancements in the availability of higher bandwidths with cost effective data plans, is enabling better control and efficiencies of remote assets and in turn, lower emissions.

 

Data communications from ships can be made over a satellite communications link, or perhaps mobile data when close to the shore.

 

Better and cheaper satellite communications make it possible to have live time series data from equipment, rather than just uploading data when a vessel enters port.

 

Investments by the Telecommunication and satellite providers have been key to enable communication with remote assets and enabling real time control and monitoring. Although seen sometimes as just a communication pipe, availability, quality of service and security is all part of a complex offering. 

 

“We must remember that machine to machine communications have been around for over 50 years – with one of the first examples being a fax machine which could automatically say it is running out of ink,” Dr Atkins says. “We are just moving on in the world of remote control and monitoring which we all hope will lead to better efficiencies, reduced emissions and standardisation providing economies of scale.”

 



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