Designer and manufacturer of electronic monitoring and alarm systems for the marine industry


Cruising towards the power line communication: MARINELEC PLC light columns on Celebrity Edge

© Bernard Biger / Chantiers de l’Atlantique
© Bernard Biger / Chantiers de l’Atlantique
CL16 ECR-Marinelec
CL16 ECR-Marinelec

The latest offering from Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the Celebrity Edge, is the 5th cruise liner equipped with powerline communication (PLC) information light columns designed by MARINELEC Technologies.

Since 2010, MARINELEC has been developing, in partnership with Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique (or STX France), PLC information light columns which have been tested on board the Norvegian Epic cruise liner as the engine call system. MARINELEC received a prize for this application in 2012 from the Ministry of Defence. It was also deployed on board the EUROPA 2, then on the Harmony of the Seas, the largest cruise liner in the world, equipped with 40 PLC information light columns, CL09 CPL. Followed by the MSC Meraviglia, the Symphony of the Seas and the Celebrity Edge, delivered last November.

Standing at 306m long, 39m wide, 129,500 GT and 16 bridges, the "J34" (code name given by the shipyard), is equipped with 45 CL16 CPL light columns. The new version of the PLC columns are now adapted to suit all types of configurations, a will of the shipyard to develop this technology to benefit all ship owners, in partnership with MARINELEC. The CL16 CPL has new communication protocols and circuit boards even more robust to adapt to the extreme environments of engine rooms (heat, vibrations, humidity...) and to complex installations. The C16 CPL has been approved by the Bureau Veritas.

This partnership is the subject of a blanket purchase agreement with Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique (or STX France) since 2016, to equip all of its ships with PLC information light columns. The columns of the MSC Bellissima and the MSC Grandiosa, sister-ship of the Meraviglia, have already been delivered and are currently being installed, set to be launched in 2019.

What exactly is PLC?

The principle is to circulate data and/or signals and the power supply on a single conductor (electric cable). The main advantage of this technology is a reduction in cabling, but it also offers new functions thanks to the bidirectional transmission of data. It allows the use of standard cables instead of more restrictive and costly specific cable strands. Another of the strengths of PLC technology is the optimal rate of test reproducibility, a great time saver as it's the system that is tested rather than the columns one by one. PLC provides numerous other benefits: ease of installation, weight and cost well as contributing to the improvement of on board safety by facilitating communication.  

 MARINELEC has also implemented its UMAS system for the ECR Column (Engine Control Room) on board the liner. Used as a general and fire alarm, more aesthetic and fully compatible with the network of CL16 CLP columns, the CL16 ECR is suited to narrow areas like the engine room, which has not previously been equipped with powerline technology.

 Initially developed to meet the specific needs of offshore oil support vessels, UMAS is a visual signalling device for ROV and underwater work, approved by Bureau Veritas. Thanks to PLC, ship safety is improved by making communications more reliable.

From the engine to the kitchen

MARINELEC is working on other applications of PLC on board ships. It can be used in particular to promote energy saving in the kitchens of cruise liners (3rd highest energy consumption on board) by acting on various pieces of equipment. This technology provides effective solutions not only for new builds, but can also optimise the installation on existing ships, all whilst reducing costs.