MacGregor, part of Cargotec, is one of several leading global companies that have teamed up for the advanced co-creation ecosystem, One Sea. Founded in 2016, the goal for the ecosystem's partners is to jointly-develop the world's first system of autonomous ships. The partner's shared vision is to enable fully remote-controlled vessels in the Baltic Sea in three years and to achieve autonomous commercial maritime traffic by 2025.
Leading the One Sea ecosystem is DIMECC (Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation). The association of Finnish Marine Industries also supports its work and the Finnish funding agency TEKES has invested in the project.
MacGregor believes that in today's world, co-creation and collaboration are efficient and sustainable ways to innovate and develop systems and solutions for more technologically-advanced and safer operations, ultimately enabling autonomous traffic at sea.
"The benefits of co-creation are obvious, software experts, together with systems and equipment experts, can improve efficiency and safety throughout the whole value chain," says Alexander Nürnberg, Senior Vice President, R&D and Technology, MacGregor.
"We in MacGregor started the transformation journey several years ago and are proceeding step-by-step towards autonomous equipment operations and eventually autonomous vessels," continues Mr Nürnberg. "The steps we have already taken on this journey include the ability to have greater connectivity to equipment. This means that we can undertake performance monitoring and further enable condition-based monitoring and predictive maintenance. About ten years ago, MacGregor introduced its OnWatch service for offshore crane customers, which included round-the-clock remote access and trouble-shooting. This service is now being further enhanced by a 'Scout' function that performs predictive maintenance and condition-monitoring."
"We understand that transformation and shaping the industry are best done in close cooperation with customers and other stakeholders," notes Pasi Lehtonen, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Business Development and Strategy, MacGregor. "MacGregor has a role in developing the shipping industry and we take our role seriously, therefore we have called for an industry renewal discussion under the theme, So much potential - let's not waste it. Productivity developments will be driven by advances in connectivity and digitalisation, along with new business models and capabilities. Autonomous maritime transportation is a perfect example of such a new capability."
"MacGregor's vast experience in understanding container ship efficiency throughout its lifecycle enables us to widen developments for ultimately enabling the autonomous operation of cargo systems on board container vessels," adds Mr Lehtonen.
The One Sea ecosystem is the latest in a series of collaborative initiatives by MacGregor and is one of many projects designed to create products and develop software and solutions to enable autonomous vessel traffic. MacGregor is collaborating with Rolls-Royce on research and development in autonomy for cargo ship navigation and cargo systems on board container ships.
MacGregor has, for many years, also cooperated with the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi within the framework of the FIMECC Rebus programme, which is oriented towards adopting boundary-spanning business models that focus on a high-level cooperation between partners in a project and the development of new, innovative solutions.
Additionally, in recent years, MacGregor has implemented a new, value-oriented approach and has been at the forefront of developing pioneering thinking in the shipping industry. The MacGregor PlusPartner concept for container ships is a good example of such an innovative solution. PlusPartner is a holistic way to maximise a ship's return on investment through a combination of optimised cargo systems and utilisation support.