Subsea 7 has teamed up with Siemens to develop effective in-house control systems, using Siemens SIMIT simulation technology, to help iron out any potential software bugs before installation.
By creating a virtual model from its Aberdeen base, Subsea 7 can effectively test the control systems under as near to ‘live’ conditions as possible, incorporating sea states and other external influences to suit almost any offshore location worldwide.
Senior control systems group engineer at Subsea 7, Leslie McGuire has been working with emulation for over six years. He developed an animated version of the Siemens digital twin (the virtual model) for use with projects, which comes with a very high standard of 3-D graphics incorporated.
Leslie McGuire said: “As well as testing the control system functions, we can implement environmental influences. Adding this extra layer with good emulation techniques, we can also fully test how a system will behave or react while being controlled by the actual unmodified machinery software.“
Using the Subsea 7 emulation system means operatives can be trained on virtual software in advance of actual construction, from the safety of an office desk, rather than in real conditions on a vessel.
Different tidal and weather conditions can be built in so that the equipment can effectively be tested under ‘real’ conditions and any issues resolved prior to construction.
Leslie added: “We’ve developed an interface which enables operators to move the machinery on the vessel using 3-D technology, giving them full function training as well as testing the software works in advance of actual installation.“
Leslie estimates that over 80 per cent of software bugs can be ironed out prior to installation, a significant advantage for operations.
Stephen Crimin, an environmental power development manager at Siemens, said: “This innovative development taking our simulation technology to the emulation stage has generated real value and time and cost savings to Subsea 7. They can effectively design in ‘real’ conditions for trainee operators to tackle from the safety of an office desk, under supervision, dramatically improving familiarity with the operating systems prior to installation, and any potential issues can be ironed out early on.“