Writing for Maritime by Holland, Andrew Rudgley states that ‘the Dutch company Alphatron Marine is leading in sorting out interfaces’. The most recent example of this is our AlphaPremiumBridge introduced in October last year whereby Alphatron Marine incorporated all the navigation, control and communication systems of various suppliers in an integrated bridge system that can be operated via a user-friendly interface. Unique large screens provide a good overview
Alphatron offers a total concept solution for both shipbuilder and customer. Luuk Vroombout, CEO of Alphatron Marine group, on the AlphaPremiumBridge: ‘In fact, a customer can come up with all kinds of bridge variants. We take the AlphaBridge or AlphaPremiumBridge (with 26 or 46-inch screen options) as the basis and incorporate the desired observation and control elements according to a number of ergonomic principles, such as ensuring operating panels are ‘within reach’. So a shipbuilder doesn’t have to bother calling about the size of a cabinet, we take care of that. We take away any concerns our customers might have and maintain all the contacts with subcontractors. Or, as Andrew Rudgley says: ‘Alphatron sees the advantages to the customer and shipbuilder’s point of view in sorting out all the interfaces and relieving the ship’s designers of the potential headaches of integration.’’
Fewer bridge personnel
Vroombout: ‘When the radio officer was replaced 25 years ago, Alphatron came up with the solution of an integrated GMDSS console that incorporated all the equipment. Alphatron has been doing this for years: gradually enabling all the operating units to become harmonised, for instance, by bringing uniformity to the lighting and switches as well as developing a simple click system so that equipment can be installed very flexibly throughout the bridge console. The large 46-inch TFT screens, a new feature of the AlphaPremiumBridge, give navigation officers a good overview even at a distance of 6 metres; a key development in this period of ageing and personnel cuts. And with larger ships now using electronic charts, navigators are aided by a chart format that corresponds as much as possible to what they were used to in the past. The new AlphaController, an intuitive, intelligent knob enables each 46-inch screen to be selected and controlled from a single workplace. If required, a rollerball or trackpad can be added.’
Plenty of interest
‘There is plenty of interest being shown in the AlphaPremiumBridge, especially from the offshore sector and from the coastguard, semi-military and patrol vessels. In Europe the AlphaPremiumBrigdge – or ‘one-man-bridge’ – means that more can be done with fewer people while still complying with the increasingly tougher ergonomic stipulations. In Asia the operation of the entire bridge from one chair has not been the norm till now; people have had to walk around. In view of the significant cooperation between the Japanese JRC and Alphatron, a derivative of our one-man-bridge has been developed for Asia: the JRC PremiumBridge whereby five 46-inch screens are installed in a front console, supplemented by extra consoles with control and operating panels. The AlphaPremiumBridge is already available for non-solas ships. The AlphaPremiumBridge is expected to be approved later this year in compliance with IMO regulations and then be available for all ships regardless of their notation class including IBS, OSV (A) and regardless of tonnage.