Modern Automation Technologies Professional Magazine


НаименованиеM533 Diesel Engine Control System for the "Mercury" Hovercraft


This article describes the structure and main features of an automated control system for diesel engines used on hovercraft.

Modern marine craft include a variety of computer systems to monitor, control and optimize processes at work on the craft. Automated control systems are particularly important in the engine room, where difficult working conditions place a premium on the ability to monitor engine systems remotely.

Engine room automation systems, as a rule, include an upper level that is situated on the bridge and that automates the monitoring functions and regulates the primary working parameters. The lower level of such systems covers the control functions (include control over the main engine systems and electrical generators) and alerts.

This article describes the ARGUS-D system, which is intended for the protection and operational control of twin main M533 engines, as well as monitoring of, and warning alerts for, the main engines and systems on a Mercury hovercraft.

The current Neptune diesel engine control systems use 10 types of components, with two of each component, weighing a total of 66.2 kg, while the ARGUS system consists of nine components weighing no more than 80 kg. The advantages of the ARGUS system include, among others, the fact that it does not require a source of compressed air; the inclusion of warning alerts using a Planar display; support for control of the diesel generator and certain systems that serve the main engines; and high maintainability.

The ARGUS system is based on the principle of distributed integrated control systems with sequential channels for information exchange. Such systems must be flexible to allow for the integration of control over complex machinery. The ARGUS system includes subsystems for remote automated control of the main engines and ship systems, monitoring and alerts systems and engine protection. The subsystems work autonomously, and they connect with the control panel through an RS-485 link, with an auxiliary RS-232C link, which considerably simplifies system installation.

The intuitive display interface has been adapted to the structure of the ship's system and makes it easy for the engineer to operate.

In the event that the software crashes, the system automatically reboots while a backup unit continues to support control signals. A crash in one unit does not cause the others to crash. The software for the ARGUS-D includes six applications working simultaneously in different units.

This system has undergone government testing on Mercury hovercraft, reaching a maximum speed of 50 knots, the highest rated speed for this type of craft in Russia. Three of the systems are in operation, the longest for two years.


Mercury hovercraft

By Aleksandr Lebedev, Sergey Safonov,
Aleksandr Kasatkin and Valeriy Seryogin

Alexander Lebedev,  Sergey Safonov,  Alexander Kasatkin,  Valery Seregin