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BIM Berthing Impact Monitoring System

Our BIM team welcomes any questions, comments and suggestions that will help us to improve our system design.

The BIM is a new innovation utilizing new technologies.  We have received many questions and decided to start this Q&A page to address the most common questions, before a separate BBS becomes necessary.
Questions might have been translated from other languages and wordings might have been refined / edited from actual correspondences.

If you can't find the answers to your questions, please email bim@zaldatechnology.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

As this page gets longer and longer during the last few months, we are dividing it into several sections:

Power Supply  
Fendering & Significant Cost Saving
Other Marine Applications for BIM Technology


Functions / Top

Q: How does generate value and save costs / Why is BIM necessary / What does BIM do
A: By providing real time monitoring data, early accident detection and fender preventive maintenance guidance. 

For terminal owners / operators, the BIM system provides a tool to obtain real time terminal fender status - berthing impact data, immediate berthing accident warnings and automatic fender maintenance guidance. This will elevate terminal maintenance and safety standards and generate value by reducing risks and down time.  BIM can also be used as an berthing accident analytic tool.  Under extreme circumstances, early accident warning could save lives for hazardous material or critical application terminals.

For consultants and fender professionals, the BIM system can significantly change how fender systems are designed, by providing a tool to actually measures, rather than assumes, fender design criteria and validate / invalidate the adequacy of existing fender design.  Speaking for ourselves, we can honestly say the data collected with BIM system brings our understanding of fender behavior into a whole new dimension.

From academic point of view, the BIM system will be the first affordable dock based long term ship berthing impact / fender - dock fatigue load data collection tool of its kind, that can provide new support for marine studies in dock / ship structure design and navigational behaviors.

For further information on cost saving, see "Fendering & Significant Cost Savings "

Q: How is your BIM system different from your BSM system / Is the BIM system necessary if we already have the BSM system
The BSM is a system designed to provide visual aide for berthing navigation.  It utilizes a few laser distance measurement to locate an approaching vessel. ( BSM-S utilize a few curves. ) It can predict berthing accidents but not able to provide details, such as location and amplitude, of the impact.

The BIM system is a passive monitoring system that is specifically design to detect berthing accidents by quantizing the actual impact amplitude and evaluating fender damage with actual impact speed / angle / displacement data on fender systems. The BIM can serve as a confirmation of the accident predictions by the BSM. 

The BIM and BSM are all designed for berthing safety but approach the task from different angles -- accident prevention for the BSM and accident measurement for the BIM. On our MMCS software, BIM and BSM are just two different sets of indications under the same interface.

Q: Can BIM monitor underwater fender movements?
A: Absolutely.  BIM are designed to be submerged. 

Q: Before your BIM, technology already exists to monitor fenders.  How is your fender monitoring system a new invention?
We believe you are referring to a technology using laser distance sensors to measure the distance between the fender frontal structure to the pier. While this technique can monitor the fender movements towards the pier, it is not able to detect the fender movements parallel to the pier. As fender professionals, we know fender damages are more frequently caused by excessive lateral motions. Hence 3D motion monitoring is a essential for successful fender monitoring. BIM is the first 3D fender monitoring system that we know of.

Moreover, the laser positioning technique is not realistic because of three reasons:
--- Costs of high accuracy laser sensors, plus the costs of installing them on the pier will amount to an unrealistic level, especially for large scale installations.
--- Laser requires a clear line of sight. When installed on the waterfront at fener system elevation, marine growth, mineral crystallization, and other build ups will make this a luxury.

Zalda BIM utilize aviation inertial guidance technology free from all theselimitations. ( This is the technology that guides airplane pilots before GPS came into dominance.) Industrial grade components for this technology were too expensive until now and we can reasonably assume these costs will continue to drop, make our systems even more cost efficient in the near future.

Q: How is your BIM different from aviation inertial guidance device?

--- Marine grade enclosure
--- Quick exchange battery
--- Elaborate power saving strategy tailored to fender movement pattern
--- Fender damage and berthing accident criteria strategy based on our experience in fender system design, laser sensor based berthing monitoring and mooring pattern design.
--- Software integration into our MMCS platform
--- Cost optimized to fit in the budget of typical harbor construction projects, with sufficient functionalities and accuracy

Q: How much does BIM cost

A: Far less than $5000 per fender system and dropping  ( Plus a project base costs )

Q: Can BIM be installed on existing fender system
A. Yes.  Small brackets are to be welded onto existing frontal structure.  BIM enclosures can then attach to these brackets.  Our fender experts will ensure the BIM enclosures cause no interference to existing fender function.  Also note our BIM enclosures are designed to avoid tangling mooring line.

Q: Dose BIM field equipment weaken fender front panel in an internal installation?
A. For installation on new fender systems, BIM components are embedded in fender panel and might weaken fender panel.  Our structural expert will ensure panels are properly reinforced in such cases.

Q: What kind of fender systems are not suitable for BIM
A: Small craft fenders and fenders without frontal structures

Q: We would like to use your system on continous monitoring. 
A: That's already within our design but it requries either low voltage shore power cable dangling beneath the fender system, or a fender panel stuffed with multiple batteries.  We reserve these option for fields that requires long term continuous fatigue movement monitoring.

Hardware  / Top
Q: Can BIM components be replaced upon malfunction?
A: Yes.  All BIM enclosures are modular / interchangeable and bolt attached.  To replace, simply remove bolts, detach cords, replace with new enclosure.  All software setup can be done over wireless network.

Q: I presume BIM components do not tangle mooring lines?
A: That is one of our basic design target.

Software  / Top

Q: What operating system does BIM software support
A: Like all MMCS software, BIM is cross platform.  So it is compatible with all major OS, including MS Windows, Apple IOS, Google Android, Nokia Symbian, and so on.

Q: How does BIM detects berthing accident and fender damage
A: There are several criteria that could trigger berthing accident and fender damage warning.  For examples,
--- If fender panel is at abnormal orientation for a prolonged period of time
--- If preset 3D displacement / angle / movement speed limits are breached
--- If fatigue criteria are met

Q: How does BIM determine amplitude of berthing impact
A: By compounding the reaction force of all fender systems and locating the "peak" values during berthing process.  The result are then displayed as video on a graphic interface for customer to visualize.
Q: How does BIM integrates with your other MMCS applications
A: BIM appears as additional windows / views when integrated with other MMCS systems.  These windows / views can be displayed simultaneously or individually switched off.

Q: How long does it take to calibrate the BIM
A: Initial calibration requires a manual process to include scenarios with a docked ship and without.  The process takes about 5 hours total.  After initial calibration, recalibration in general less than 15 minutes per system, through wireless network.


Communication  / Top
Q: What is the wireless protocol that BIM field equipment uses.  How do you address interference
A. BIM field equipment uses 806.11.x protocol.  Our main inteference strategy is to make the Theoretical communication range is far greater than ealistic distance to AP.  Hence realistic range will normally be adequate even when reduced by interference under typical conditions.  We can not rule out extreme cases where we will use alternative strategy such as increasing the number of APs or bring them closer to the BIM field components.

Power Supply  / Top
Q: How long does it take to exchange the battery. 
A: Less than 10 minutes per fender system with proper training and tools.

Q: It appears that the BIM only monitors berthing impacts because you want to save the battery.  Have you thought of other power generation such as solar, wave, micro vibration, and peltier units? Iíve provided catholic protection cables on many panels and these seem to last well, so a low voltage cable supply could give you unlimited power, perhaps with an alarmed UPS as a back-up. Have you thought of reducing the wireless communication range by increasing the AP on the pier?
The BIM is fully capable of long term continuous monitoring, if we were not restricted by the trade off between battery capacity and ease of maintenance. Obviously shore power will make everything easy for our system designer in terms of power supply and is already within our design. But the market seems to demand the BIM system to be stand alone for a year without requiring shore power and this is how we decide to publicize the BIM. ( Our main clientele, the terminal operators, do not really care about the fatigue data collected during continuous monitoring and would expect our system to stand alone. ) But we do reserve shore power option for fields that requires long term continuous monitoring, mostly academic though.

We have considered all the power generation methods mentioned above. Solar -- not place to mount the solar panel and realistic to maintain. Wave -- requires generator in the water. Micro vibration -- not yet mature. Peltier units -- not enough temperature variation. Maybe a combination of various methods could generates enough power but the cost increase and system over complication does not seem to be worth the trade off, yet. We are watching out for all new developments in mobile power generation and will update our design as soon as we could find a feasible solution.

We concur reducing wireless range could conserve power. But that requires more AP on the pier and again, due to market consideration, we want our product to place less burden on the customers.

Fendering & Cost Savings / Top

Q:  How does BIM improve fendering and provide significant cost saving?
A:  The BIM system can improve fendering in everything conceiveable way.  With BIM database, we can clearly see the impact distribution amongst each fender system along the berth so we can position fender systems based on necessity rather than arbitrary "fender pitch"; we can see fender abnormal movements as they happens so fender system design improvement can be quickly implemented before permanent damages occur; we can see fender performance deterioration trend over time and perform preventive maintenance before imminent fender failure could occur and shut down the terminal; we can design better fender systems and develop better fender elements using BIM base data...... 

From cost saving perspective, the BIM system allows for better fendering with less fender systems, as well as preventive design improvement and maintenance that minimizes fender maintenance costs and unnecessary fender related terminal down time.  These cost saving features alone will more than justify the initial and long term costs of the BIM system.  But these are not amongst the central values of the BIM system, which is to facilitate quick elavuation and response during crisis situations to reduce human and property damages on larger scale.


Q: We have a new / bigger vessel coming in and it will dock on our existing fenders. Can your system to used to determine fender design criteria so we can use the data to support the design of our new fender system?
A:  The BIM is designed by the fender people and for the fender people.  So YES.

Q: From a fender manufacturer's prospective, how does BIM help advance your understanding of fender behaviors?
A. The data collected by the BIM so far is simply overwhelming.  Many questions that were previously based on assumptions in the fender community can now be answered with concrete data.  Examples:
--- Correlations between actual ship contact speed and fender compression / deflection speed
--- Actual fender compression ratio under multi fender compression scenario
--- Actual fender panel rotation under flare / belting contacts
--- Rubber fender normalization cycle information for aged fenders over time
--- Answers the age old question, chain or no chain

And so much more. 

Other Marine Application for BIM Technology / Top

Q. What other applications in the marine sector does BIM Technology have?

A.  BIM is essentially a multi layer wireless positioning technology, that is suitable for any 3D wireless positioning applications with 0.5m-2m movement envelope, <60cm movement speed, and <30 degree tilting angle.  Some of the interesting application that we have looked at are quick release hook, marine pile and marine structure movement monitoring.




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