One of the primary requirements of AtoN is that they are reliable – they must operate as regularly as the vessels that use them. IALA classify this reliability as ‘Availability’, which it defines as ‘the probability that an AtoN or system of AtoN, as defined by the Competent Authority, is performing its specified function at any randomly chosen time. This is expressed as a percentage of total time that an AtoN, or system of AtoN, should be performing their specified function’.
Maintaining this level of availability can be partially achieved by using robust, fit for purpose equipment and practical, well-designed structures that are suitable for the conditions in which they are operated. Whilst selection of equipment is critical, these levels of availability are often unattainable without some level of maintenance.
This is best stated in IALA Recommendation 1077, which states “Maintenance is required to ensure that AtoN equipment and systems continue to perform at the levels required by mariners to safely navigate the world’s waterways. A maintenance system should be adopted to ensure that AtoN assets deliver the desired performance while minimizing Total Ownership Cost. The performance is normally defined as the level of availability required”.
The vast majority of AtoN are installed either in, or adjacent to, very harsh and exposed marine environments. This is a particularly corrosive environment, especially for steel structures. Exposure to wind, waves and extreme heat and humidity impacts the integrity of AtoN structures over their life span. It is also a challenging environment in which to install and reliably operate electronics due to the environmental conditions, especially heat and humidity. These types of conditions necessitate regular inspection of equipment and regular preventative maintenance to be carried out.
At M-NAV Solutions, we can provide maintenance services for the products we supply as well as for existing installations or entire AtoN networks. M-NAV Solutions personnel have extensive experience in AtoN maintenance, with specialist expertise in remote sites and challenging tropical environments. We can assist in assessing your maintenance requirements, based existing assets or planned expansions, and provide relevant and cost-effective maintenance solutions that will reduce the probability of failures and extend the lifespan of your assets.