Wärtsilä Introduces Smart Lock Entry System


Wärtsilä, a technological solutions provider, has developed a lock entry assistance system that will ease the approach and entrance of vessels into waterway locks.

The project, carried out in collaboration with the Canada-based CSL Group, comes in response to the increasing size of vessels operating on waterways in the St Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes region.

When entering locks along the seaway, there is minimal clearance for larger vessels, increasing the difficulty of lock entry and potential of damage to ships.

This damage, to both the vessel and lock walls, can be avoided by facilitating the ship’s approach path to the locks, which will make operations safer, faster and more efficient.

Rob Gordijn discusses the mega-project of building Amsterdam's new sea-lock in a recent Port Technology technical paper

According to Wärtsilä, the entry assist system uses global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to provide extremely accurate measurements of a ship’s location as it enters the lock.

Speed adaptive controls, together with the allocation of the thruster and rudder, ensure that the vessel enters the lock in a consistent manner every time, while minimizing the influence of external forces from wind and current.

In addition to this, the system automatically controls the vessel’s lateral position and heading, allowing the operator to focus on controlling the speed of the vessel during entry.

A customized touchscreen interface is also being developed, in order to simplify operations and improve situational awareness.



Joonas Makkonen, Vice President of Voyage Solutions at Wärtsilä, commented: “This project once again emphasises Wärtsilä’s leadership capabilities in creating greater efficiencies for marine operators through its Smart Marine approach.

“Our extensive in-house knowledge and experience, combined with the industry’s broadest portfolio of products and systems, has enabled us to utilise the very latest technologies to deliver a level of innovation that is completely unmatched, and which adds real value to our customers’ businesses.”

Frédéric Jauvin, Vice President of Global Technical Services at CSL, added: “CSL is committed to working with qualified partners and regulatory agencies to improve operational safety and efficiency for vessels sailing the St Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes system.

“We believe that modern technology supports this ambition, and Wärtsilä’s lock entry assist system represents a positive step forward for us and for the industry as a whole.”

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