[Courtesy of Hanwha Ocean]
South Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean Co. is at the forefront of maritime and defense innovation thanks to its research and development center equipped with advanced facilities and technologies.
In operation since December 2018, Hanwha Ocean’s Siheung R&D center consists of five divisions, each with research focus areas: basic performance, eco-friendly energy, production innovation, digital solutions, and defense technology.
“Our Siheung R&D campus is equipped with various test facilities that have received industry accolades for being the best, first, largest, and latest. We believe this campus is the leading research complex in the Korean shipbuilding, marine, and defense industries,” Kang Joong-kyu, the head of the R&D center, said during the site tour given to Maeil Business Newspaper on Friday.
The R&D center is the only research facility in Korea equipped with an acoustic tank dedicated to related research, considered crucial research equipment for both military and non-military applications. The tank enables the creation of desired underwater environments in limited spaces, replicating the real environment and assisting in the analysis of sound wave characteristics such as propagation, reflection, scattering, diffraction, and refraction.
“Noise in submarines is directly linked to survival, and the importance of silence cannot be overstated. For this reason, measurements using the tank are carried out from the design stage to create quieter submarines,” a company official said.
Hanwha Ocean has also developed a parametric array system that artificially generates low-frequency bands handled in the detection process using the tank. Another technology currently being developed is a “fluid silencer” to reduce the noise generated by fluids, such as oil, as they flow in the submarines’ piping.
During the tour, Hanwha Ocean unveiled a shared tank research facility with a wall filled with water. The 62-meter-long and 21-meter-high shared tank, the largest commercial shared tank in the world, simulates cavitation caused by a submarine’s propeller, allowing for research to improve thrust and reduce noise. It circulates 3,600 tons of water, creating a maximum flow rate of 15 meters per second.
Cavitation is a phenomenon where liquid turns into a gas due to a rapid change in pressure when a liquid moves at high speed, generating a loud noise and vibrations.
Hanwha Ocean captures and analyzes bubbles that change depending on the submarine and propeller models and incorporates this data into their designs. This facility is a cornerstone of the shipbuilder’s defense and shipbuilding technology alongside the acoustic tank.
In the autonomous navigation vessel control center, visitors can see the equipment that remotely controls Hanwha Ocean’s autonomous navigation test vessel, known as “Han-V.” Hanwha Ocean uses its self-developed smart ship platform, Hanwha SmartShip Solution & Service, also known as HS4.
The cloud-based terrestrial data platform provides shipowners with data generated by ships in actual operation to enhance operational efficiency and safety, as well as enhancing data security and reliability. Driven by positive feedback from shipowners during the pilot stage, HS4 has been applied as a standard specification to all ships built by the company since 2022.
The control center, which operates around the clock, remotely controls Han-V with an augmented reality-based remote navigation control system. It is also equipped with a digital twin-based system that allows remote control with low-data bandwidth, currently enabling control of ships navigating the ocean in common maritime communication environments.
“We aim to secure smart ship technology that can achieve fully autonomous navigation in Level 4 and secure leadership in the future shipbuilding market by 2030,” a Hanwha Ocean official said.
By Ahn Seo-jin and Chang Iou-chung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]