Condition Monitoring on a Drillship – HYDAC International GmbH

Drillship Stena Drillmax Drilling

On such drillships condition monitoring is particularly important

Fig. 1: On such drillships condition monitoring is particularly important

On a drillship, process value monitoring is an important issue. For this purpose HYDAC have developed their new VisiWinNET-based CM-Expert condition monitoring system for needs-oriented, plannable maintenance providing machine availability coupled with cost minimization.


HYDAC is one of the leading corporations in the field of fluid technology and hydraulics, offering a comprehensive product portfolio of hydraulic components. These products are used in many areas such as the automotive industry, machine tools, aviation, steelworks, navigation, and construction machinery. Of crucial importance for the faultless function of the hydraulics is the quality of the hydraulic oil. HYDAC's appropriate sensors capture the essential measured variables of the machines or plant hydraulics in operation. The core piece is the central data recording and evaluation through the CM-Expert condition monitoring tool. This keeps the plant operator informed about the exact condition of the hydraulics at any time, guarantees a reliable operation, and allows needs-oriented and plannable maintenance. For the redevelopment of the condition monitoring tool HYDAC required an appropriate development tool. Among the search criteria were current technology, integration into the .NET framework, free extendibility for special functions, and easy interaction with Visual Studio.

Condition Monitoring Software

The condition monitoring software is based on the VisiWinNET process visualization system

Fig. 2: The condition monitoring software is based on the VisiWinNET process visualization system

The flexible and modular design of the CM-Expert software allows to use it not only in the above mentioned hydraulics applications. Other applications such as the monitoring of clean rooms with air particle measurement are conceivable, made possible by the flexibility of both the software and the controller. The open and manufacturer-independent system allows to connect different sensor types. It is even possible to connect and interpret third-party sensors, which further extends the range of possible applications. Due to its self-contained design, which is independent from the already existing controller solution, the system can be added to any existing plant without problems. In the condition monitoring system the measured variables are recorded and archived. For each measured variable monitoring limits can be defined to trigger an alarm if they are exceeded or underrun. These monitoring limits can be changed at any time using an appropriate sensor control and the context menu if the user has the required user right. In addition, the sensor values can also be displayed by a line chart so that the user can see directly how the measured variable changed over time. The software was optimized so that the user can define the values to be displayed on a so-called favorites page. The number of values displayed in different charts in unlimited, and the display parameters can be set freely, which allows the user to display the most important process parameters in the center of the screen. He can also save and print out charts for protocol and documentation purposes. An export function allows to select and store the recorded data, e.g. for further external evaluation in Excel.

Process visualization as the basis

The integration of VisiWinNET Professional into Microsoft Visual Studio allowed HYDAC to implement specific requirements by developing custom controls

Fig. 3: The integration of VisiWinNET Professional into Microsoft Visual Studio allowed HYDAC to implement specific requirements by developing custom controls

The VisiWinNET process visualization system developed by INOSOFT serves as a basis for the CM-Expert condition monitoring system. For HYDAC, VisiWinNET Professional is the tool of choice, since it provides the required functions and easily integrates custom functions. The process visualization system allowed HYDAC specialists to build on its broad functional range and to implement, for example, a connection with the controller via OPC Server. A further standard function is the alarm and messaging system for the display and recording of alarms. The incoming alarms and messages are displayed in a clearly arranged way. In addition to acknowledging the alarms, the user can also save a note with an alarm. The evaluation of historic alarms and notes allows the plant operator to draw conclusions for process optimization. Recording and archiving is performed by the VisiWinNET archive system. The archive system allows to use the recorded data in a chart. For example, the recorded values of each sensor can be displayed as trend charts. Fur an internationally active corporation such as HYDAC, which uses its software in different countries all over the world, the adaptation of the user interface to the customer’s language is a key function. The so called localization is made possible by the integrated online language switching feature. CM-Expert is configurable and allows the user to make settings. The availability of settings depends on user rights so that, for example, only authorized persons can change the limit values for monitoring. The VisiWinNET user management makes it easy to configure users by providing templates. These templates were adapted by HYDAC for their application.

Client-specific extension

The integration of VisiWinNET Professional into Visual Studio allowed HYDAC to implement specific requirements for their condition monitoring software by developing custom controls. An example of a custom control is the analog sensor control, one of the main user interface elements. The analog sensor control combines the most important data of a sensor in a single control. It shows the measured value as a text as well as a bar chart that changes its color if the limit value is exceeded. To provide the user with a quick overview, the monitoring limits are displayed directly in the control. As a central UI element, the sensor control not only displays the measured value but also allows to access other functions using the context menu. A user with the appropriate user right can, for example, call a dialog to set different limit values or display a trend chart to see how the measured value changed over time. A smooth transition between online and historic data makes it easy for the user to display past data. This can be controlled by entering a certain timespan or intuitively through a scroll bar. “With VisiWinNET, we have made the right choice for the redevelopment of our CM-Expert. It provides many standard functions and allows us to adapt it to our field of application. VisiWinNET has the flexibility and extensibility that we were looking for”, concludes Robertus Koppies, Head of the Condition Monitoring Department at HYDAC.

Autor: André Weber, Digitec Vertriebs GmbH

The condition monitoring system was developed by:


HYDAC International GmbH

HYDAC is a leading company in field of fluid technology and hydraulics and offers a wide range of hydraulic components. HYDAC products are used in many industries and fields of application such as the automobile industry, machine tools, aviation, steel mills, shipping, and construction machinery.

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