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Case Studies

Rolls Royce - Vessel Stability Upgrade

The Challenge

The Rolls-Royce marine business is a global leader in marine propulsion, engineering and hydrodynamic expertise, with a broad product range and full systems integration capability.

One of the products Rolls-Royce produce are folding fin stabilisers that are used to stabilise vessels within the water and prevent roll. The control system used for these stabilisers was a purpose built controller which was approaching the end of its lifecycle and becoming increasingly difficult to support. Rolls-Royce realised that they needed an ‘off the shelf’ Control System, with an open programming language making support and improvements much simpler. When they were awarded the contract for the stabiliser system for the Queen Mary 2, they started the development of the new control system.

Rolls-Royce selected the Siemens S7 PLC and HMI range of equipment for the control system upgrade, providing the ‘off the shelf’ hardware solution they required. As the Rolls-Royce Control team had resource problems due to their ongoing workload and limited experience with this equipment, it was quickly realised they required assistance in this field. They also required individuals who had the versatile ability to adopt the internal Rolls-Royce Software Standards, to minimise the degree of learning required for the new Control System.

The Solution

Following discussions with Rolls-Royce Senior Engineers and examinations on the technical requirements of the new system, it was decided that ISS Engineers would be embedded into the Rolls-Royce Control System Team. These Engineers would assist in the design, development and testing of the software modules to provide the ‘off the shelf’ flexibility required.
A modular program format was developed where each program section was designed, developed, and tested. Once all the modules were designed and tested, they were then grouped into specific predefined sections based on functionality, which were then group tested. Finally the entire program was created and tested. Each stage of program design and test was fully documented.


Several Benefits of the Embedded Engineers became immediately apparent to the Rolls-Royce Control System Team. These included:

  • Rolls-Royce retained Project Control by using embedded engineers
  • ISS provided Siemens S7 PLC System Integration expertise
  • ISS had extensive PLC automation based solutions expertise
  • ISS had extensive experience in the Project Documentation required

ISS Engineers assisted Rolls-Royce in achieving their primary objectives of:

  • roducing a well structured and documented program
  • Integrating ‘off the shelf’ hardware with a modular Software Solution
  • Having engineers trained to allow maintenance and modification of the Control Software

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