Ricardo completes virtual remote IMO Tier III certification test


Ricardo is introducing a virtual certification test service.Ricardo is introducing a virtual certification test service.



Ricardo, the engineering and technology consultancy, has completed its first IMO Tier III virtual certification test, after working with a Scandinavian customer to certify a large marine engine series.

Ricardo worked with Norway-based Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions (BOS Power) – the Nordic distributor of MTU engines from Rolls-Royce Power Systems – to provide a virtual certification service to certify an MTU marine engine series.

BOS Power arranged for the MTU 10V2000M 72 marine engine to be shipped to the test facility at Ricardo’s Shoreham Technical Centre in the UK. BOS Power, the supplier and classification society DNV GL were able to observe the remotely-performed emissions tests and validate quality checks and participate in the test and certification remotely.

Although this marked the first time that Ricardo had undertaken IMO Tier III virtual certification testing for a customer in the marine sector, Ricardo had pioneered virtual vehicle certification for automotive customers in April 2020, when it enabled automaker clients and certification bodies to observe tests via a secure, live three-way feed to the automation and data management systems of Ricardo’s advanced test facilities.

IT solutions

The Ricardo team provided a suite of IT solutions to streamline the remote certification test process. These included fixed and portable camera technology to enable inspection of the test-cell and the emission measurement system checks, and a comprehensive connection of virtual network connectivity to consolidate multiple systems: the test automation system data display, test-cell live camera, engine management system (EMS) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) control sub-system, all of which were orchestrated centrally by the test engineer to continually adapt the presentation display securely via Microsoft Teams to suit the witnesses requirements, while operating an efficient compliance testing schedule.

The Ricardo team facilitated separate connectivity of the EMS and SCR remotely to BOS Power and its Swedish sub-system supplier to enable effective live monitoring and control of specialised systems by the relevant experts in Sweden and Norway.

Fast turnaround

Ricardo Test Operations director Richard Murphy commented: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant travel restrictions could have stopped this certification test completely. Fortunately, Ricardo has considerable experience in virtual certification and with the strong responsive cooperation of Bertel O. Steen Power Solutions, we were able to work together to change the whole delivery concept at very short notice. Without adapting to support a remote event it is unlikely that our customer would have been able to certify in the required timeframe with anyone else and may have faced substantial logistical challenges with 7-14 day isolation of staff during any international travel.”

“Although this is our first IMO Tier III certification event, the general requirements are broadly similar for any recent or current global emission standard, so the key deliverables of open, transparent testing, quality data, excellent digital security and a high level of responsiveness, apply to any federal marine testing, European on- and off-highway certification project. Therefore, we were able to apply our knowledge and experience of successfully performing remote/virtual test and certification events for eMachines, passenger cars, real driving emissions and other on-dyno testing to this challenging project. We know that the remote accessibility of the Ricardo test facilities is proving increasingly attractive to our customers for more general test operations.”

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