Our wide-reaching Digitally – Enabled Asset Management and Innovations programme is identifying new, smarter ways that we can support our customers. As part of this approach, we have developed a specially adapted building known as the Connected Facility at our Devonport site.

Testing current and emerging ‘smart’ technologies, the facility aims to improve the management of both our own and customers’ assets to deliver increased efficiency, identify issues and plan future maintenance more effectively. The facility is also acting as a sandpit to de-risk technology for other ‘smart’ installs.

Recent trials of the Connected Facility have demonstrated how targeted sensor information from six low pressure air compressors can be accessed remotely over a cyber secure wireless network that uses Light Fidelity (LiFi).

An analytics suite of tools displays performance data on a ‘smart’ glass panel, allowing engineers to access instantaneous feedback from the machinery sensors, as well as providing support and maintenance information such as user manuals, work instructions and 3D models.

With real-time condition based monitoring data readily available, engineers are more easily able to predict machine failure as well as anticipate and plan maintenance interventions – in turn leading to improved asset availability, enhanced service provision and cost reduction.

This ‘smart’ technology principle is also being applied to other Babcock projects such as its recently launched T31e General Purpose Frigate design – Arrowhead. Arrowhead is cleverly designed to reduce through life costs by embedding key innovations such as real time equipment health monitoring during the build enabling information to be collected during deployment on the fitness of its systems to inform future service and maintenance arrangements.

All of which presents a real step forward to achieving the ‘iFrigate™’and paving the way towards future “SMART” support capability.