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Dealing with real challenges on a navy warship

A valuable experience during the industrial secondment

As an early-stage researcher (ESR) on Smart Cities EMC Network for Training (SCENT) project under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant, many benefits have been obtained. One of them is the opportunity to do secondments in real industrial applications. This allows all ESR to explore and investigate real-life challenges that might not be found in books or journals.

My most fabulous industrial secondment experience was when I got the opportunity to work on a navy ship. Can everyone have this opportunity? I don’t think so, because it is an extraordinary opportunity. 

A short story about this ship. This ship was built to protect the territories of a sovereign country. So, the entire system inside this ship is expected to be able to work properly even in extreme conditions. For this reason, maintaining the power distribution network stability is very important. Damen shipyard and Thales NL (partner of our MSCA SCENT project) have been collaborating to create a reliable and robust system for this warship. All aspects, including power quality and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), get full attention and are considered as a crucial matter. The reasons are that in an islanded grid like a ship, a small electromagnetic interference (EMI) or small voltage disturbance like rapid voltage change (RVC) may propagate and cause a bigger problem to interconnected systems. Obviously, on ships, various factors can cause system disruption; it is not only related to the electrical configuration of the system – it can also be caused by environmental factors, installations, coupling noise, human error or system wear.

Main problem is then how to determine a source of EMI disturbance? And whether this can be justified scientifically, modelled and predicted? The challenge is how to tackle an industrial problem like this from an academic research point of view. Therefore, we collaborated with our partner Thales NL to find an appropriate method to investigate this problem. In this case, to detect the correlation between each EMI event in a complex system like this, we provide a measurement method using a multi-points measurement technique. This technique allows us to monitor and record EMI events at different measurement points in the power distribution system at exactly the same time. With this method, it becomes possible to detect various kinds of EMI event as well as look at the correlation between EMI events. Further information about this method can be found in our published paper [1], [2]

Of course, this published method is not only one outcome that can be obtained from this industrial secondment activity. From this activity I have gained some unique experiences such as: how to adapt to military regulations, how to collaborate effectively with supervisors and many parties, and how to interact with people which have an industrial mindset. As one can see, there are many benefits that we can get from these industrial secondments. The main advantage is that we can analyze the problem from a broader perspective and find the best practical solution for the real situation.


References

[1] M. I. Sudrajat, N. Moonen, H. Bergsma, R. Bijman, and F. Leferink, “Multipoint Measurement Technique for Tracking Electromagnetic Interference Propagation and Correlation in a Complex Installation,” in 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Signal Integrity and Power Integrity., 2020.

[2] M. I. Sudrajat, N. Moonen, H. Bergsma, R. Bijman, and F. Leferink, “Evaluating Rapid Voltage Changes and its Propagation Effect using Multipoint Measurement Technique,” in EMC Europe 2020, 2020.