Automatic Engine Hour Updates Now Available

Have you ever wondered how you can integrate an on-board monitoring program with your preventative maintenance program.  This is now possible with the partnership between WheelHouse and GPLink.  WheelHouse provides an easy-to-use comprehensive program for managing the maintenance, documentation, and spare parts for a vessel or fleet.   GP Link  provides remote monitoring of the most critical parameters of your engines as well as auxiliary systems.  These remote capabilities allow you to monitor your assets from anywhere in the world.  Integration between GP Link and WheelHouse through the Internet of Things (IoT) allows our yacht and fleet customers the ability to have engine hours automatically fed into WheelHouse, eliminating the need for data entry and ensuring maintenance is up to date.  This automation tool can be especially useful with vessels in remote locations and large fleets.  Contact us to learn the benefits of these programs and how they can assist you in ensuring the safety, reliability, and value of your vessel or fleet.

The Importance of Updating Runtimes

One of the more basic but also most important and occasionally overlooked functions in WheelHouse, is the Update Runtimes feature. Though the majority of maintenance in the program is calendar driven and not dependent upon runtime entry, some of the more critical equipment (main engines, generators, etc.) maintenance is reliant upon this manually input data. Obviously, the frequency at which the boat is used ultimately determines how often the runtimes need to be entered into WheelHouse, so since most of these hourly service intervals are set for at least 200 hours, entering runtimes shouldn’t result in too much additional input. As with most other aspects of WheelHouse, entering runtimes is fairly straightforward, simply click on Update Runtimes from the Home page of the vessel as shown:
After clicking on Update Runtimes, the Runtime Manager will open, which is where the updates are made. All of the equipment’s runtimes, whose maintenance is hourly based, can be entered within the Runtime Manager page. Once all of the current runtimes have been entered, click Update Run Times to save the changes as shown in the screenshot:
Now, since the most current runtimes have been entered, the program will be calculating all hourly maintenance alerts from these new values. As referenced above, it will be important to continue to enter the runtimes moving forward so that the hourly based maintenance tasks continue to alert correctly. Another important part of this function is the accurate recording of maintenance history once an hourly based PM is closed. When entering the pertinent data into the various fields of the History Manager, it is essential to enter the precise hours at which the service was performed. Please refer to the screenshot to see where this is done: After having worked through these processes a few times, as with most other functions in Wheelhouse, this procedure will become instinctive with each successive log-in.

WheelHouse Underway for Fleet Users

     WheelHouse Underway™, an off-line tablet application for Apple™, Android™, and Windows™ devices was released late last year and now available for fleets.  WheelHouse Underway expands the functionality of the WheelHouse Marine Maintenance System, which provides: vessel specifications, documentation, maintenance recommendations, and spare parts guidelines in a cloud-based application. 
     WheelHouse Underway provides the long-awaited off-line access to WheelHouse allowing customers a convenient way to view equipment information, documents, as well as enabling users to view and complete maintenance tasks when an internet connection is unavailable.  Once an internet connection becomes available, all information may be synced back to the cloud. 
     WheelHouse Underway takes advantage of both tablet and cloud technology and provides a user friendly application even when internet is unavailable.  With internet access limited in remote areas, you and your crew will find WheelHouse Underway an indispensable tool to keep maintenance and spare parts inventory current.  
     Below is an outline of the elements included in the Phase One release of WheelHouse
Underway.  If you are interested in adding this off-line functionality to your fleet, please contact usfor a demonstration, feature review, and pricing.  
Underway Function Overview:
  • Update Runtimes
  • View / Complete Alerts
  • Record Corrective Maintenance
  • Create Maintenance Forecast
  • Create Onetime Maintenance Tasks
  • Access Vessel Documents, Drawings, and Manuals
  • View System Reports
  • All information may be completed off-line and synced at your convenience.
Update Runtimes
Dynamically update your engine runtimes while at sea to determine upcoming maintenance.  Runtimes will sync with the cloud when internet is available.
View / Complete Alerts
Preventative and onetime maintenance tasks can be completed.  Onetime maintenance tasks can be created and corrective tasks can be completed.  All information is saved on the device until synced with the server. In addition, on-board parts are also automatically removed from inventory when synced.
View Vessel Manuals
Operators have the option to sync copies of all vessel operating and equipment manuals to their tablets for off-line access.
Run Reports
All critical vessel information is synced for local access, including:

  • As-built Report
  • Fluids Schedule
  • Kit Inventory
  • Maintenance History
  • Maintenance Tasks
  • My Manufacturers
  • Spare Parts Inventory
  • Warranty Information
Android V4.0 and later
Microsoft V8.1 and later
iOS V8 and later

Understanding the MMS Technical Architecture

The SeaKits Marine Maintenance System (MMS) is designed, developed and operated to provide a scalable, highly available, cost-effective technology architecture that allows our customers to focus on their vessel or fleet. The essential elements of our IT strategy include::

  • Web-based, providing access from anywhere in the world and providing instant updating of new features or bug fixes.
  • Open Source Software, to reduce licensing and maintenance costs while providing robust application components.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), providing flexibility and scalability with subscription pricing.
  • Cloud Computing that provides scalability, security, data integrity and backup and recovery of data.

The overwhelming benefits to the customer include:

  • A world-class application at a reasonable price.
  • Software upgrades and bug fixes immediately available without user action.
  • Data security and integrity is assured – no lost data.
  • MMS logon available from any web-connected computer.

While the MMS software is world class, what really differentiates MMS is its turnkey engineering content specific to each customer’s vessel. Most yacht and workboat owners know that content acquisition is the hardest part of building a maintenance solution – MMS allows customers to immediately focus on managing maintenance with customized content at their fingertips.

The MMS Product Plan is influenced by what we see in the fleet as well as specific customer feedback. We encourage you to let us know what new features you think would benefit you and other users. We will let you know where it fits in the Product Plan.

We will continue to combine world-class SaaS technology with award-winning content to provide a turnkey maintenance and spares program for virtually any yacht, workboat, or fleet.

Managing Your Alerts

MMS users occasionally comment that they feel overwhelmed by the number of Maintenance Alerts MMS presents to them. While the number may seem daunting, Alerts are a reflection of the effort required to keep a vessel in top condition. And, most of us who have been around complex mechanical and electrical systems know that chronically overlooking or underperforming maintenance on them is a good way to ensure their eventual failure—and if Murphy has anything to say about it, at the most critical or inopportune time!

Approximately 90% of Maintenance Alerts in MMS are based on manufacturer recommended maintenance and intervals and often the bulk of these are simple inspections. The balance derives from our fleet experience to help improve equipment reliability and assist the discovery of incipient failures (See the Inspections article).

However, owner/operators often use their equipment at frequencies and loads that vary from the manufacturer’s assumptions, so adjustment of maintenance intervals is warranted and recommended in such cases.

To help keep your Alerts list manageable, new in MMS Version 2.4 is a “Task Actions” pull-down menu next to each alert allowing a number of options, as follows:

  • Work Completed. Select to record that the maintenance was completed as planned. The History Manager will open allowing you to furnish details, including any spare parts used. The task will reschedule to the next interval and will be saved in Equipment History.
  • Reschedule. For example, if the vessel will be hauled in three months and you wish to perform the keel cooler maintenance at that time, select this action to change the date or run time to reflect the haul out schedule.
  • Dismiss. Lets’ say your watermaker has not been used recently, so there is no need to perform the recommended maintenance. By selecting Dismiss, you will automatically reschedule the alert based on its normal interval. In other words, if the PM is a quarterly task, MMS will reschedule to 3 months from the dismiss date.
  • Change Maintenance Frequency. You determine that the intake screens on your A/C air handlers need vacuuming quarterly instead of monthly. Selecting this action provides several options for changing the calendar or runtime interval for the task. You will still have to complete, reschedule, or dismiss the current alert, but after that the new frequency will be in effect.
  • Turn Alert Off. You may want to turn an alert off on a routine task, like clearing seawater strainers. Be careful! Once you turn an alert off the task will not alert unless you turn it back on from the Task Manager.
  • View Task Detail. Shows the details of the selected task.
  • View Task History. Shows the maintenance history of the selected task.

By using these tools you can adjust maintenance schedules to your specific operating requirements while ensuring that required maintenance isn’t overlooked. We have found that owners who proactively use the MMS Alerts features generally have fewer than 25 active maintenance alerts at any given time. Remember, MMS reflects manufacturer recommendations for “normal” operating conditions—your norms may warrant adjusting or deviating from those. Deferring or rescheduling alerts is expected in such cases.

How to Create Your Reference Library

As MMS users know, each equipment record’s documents tab contains the electronic versions of operators’ and parts manuals, data sheets, and other documents available from the original manufacturer. And, via the tab’s “Add Document” link, users can add any files they may want to upload.

Most users agree that it is very useful to have these documents in electronic form. In that sense, MMS is a sort of “e-Library” of valuable technical information all in one place!

Electronic files enable you to:

  • Use the application’s search feature to pinpoint terms or keywords on a specific topic
  • Use the application’s “zoom” feature to see detail (on a drawing for example)
  • Print a hard copy if you lose or can no longer read yours
  • Copy and share a file with a friend via email or portable drive (such as a writeable CD or Flash Drive)

You’ve always been able to save any single MMS file to your computer, but did you know that you can now download all of them in one fell swoop to your laptop?
It’s easy. From your Home Page, just click the Admin button, then the “Export Vessel Documents” link and follow the directions. Click “Download Documents” and the process starts. Click “Save” on the File Download dialog box, and a zipped folder will be created wherever you designate. Unzip it, and there are all your manuals to read, print, or share.

Pre-Startup and Daily Inspections

MMS includes Preventive Maintenance tasks (PMs) called “daily checks” for systems and equipment that have pre-startup and/or daily inspection requirements. Because these PMs have a “daily” maintenance interval we turn the alert off to prevent the user being buried in PMs (you can turn these alerts back on if desired). An example of the daily check PM for a typical wet exhaust diesel engine would include checking the oil, coolant, primary fuel filter, v-belt tension, raw water strainer, and a general condition inspection.

While MMS will have a number of daily check PMs when it is delivered, you can easily add additional ones if you want. To do so, go to the equipment’s Maintenance Tab and select “Add Planned Task” in the upper right. Make the frequency field equal to “daily” and decide if you want the alerts on or off.

We recommend having a hardcopy of your daily check PMs handy, perhaps in a notebook or posted near the related equipment, until the inspections are habitual. To view and print your daily checks, select Reports on the menu bar and then choose Maintenance Tasks on the left. From the drop-down menus select All Systems and Alert Status “Off.” You can then review them on screen or print the results using the print icon in the upper right.
Start using the daily check PMs that you have in hard-copy and soon they will be second nature.

Using Wheelhouse For Voyage Preparation

Are you planning a voyage that will make it inconvenient to do planned maintenance? MMS can help you forecast maintenance that is pending and knock it out before you leave. For example, you are planning a cruise from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, over the upcoming three weeks and you plan on consuming 120 engine hours. Using the maintenance forecast feature in MMS you can determine what maintenance will be due during the cruise. With forecast in hand, decide what maintenance to complete before departure, under way, or at your destination. You can also make sure you have the required service parts before departure.

Here’s how to generate a maintenance forecast report for this trip:

  • From the Home Page, click Update Runtimes and enter your current engine hours.
  • Click Create/Print Maintenance Forecast. Select All Systems and set the forecast variables to 125 hours and 21 days (from the example above).
  • Click the print icon in the upper right corner to print a hardcopy maintenance forecast. Maintenance task and required parts will be shown on the report.
  • Perform the maintenance (or perform later but make sure you have the required parts listed in the PM).
  • When the maintenance is completed, click View Alerts/Complete Maintenance and set the same forecast period. Click the Completed icon to the right of the PM and fill out the Maintenance History.

With a little forethought and planning, and by following 5 simple steps, you can use MMS to get ahead on your maintenance so you can relax and enjoy the cruise knowing your vessel’s maintenance is up-to-date.