Finland's most powerful and the world's most environmentally friendly icebreaker will navigate the Bothnian Sea in winter. Once the ice has been crushed, Polaris will float on the Katajanokka pier in Helsinki, ready for oil spill response and rescue operations on the high seas.
Polaris is the world's first icebreaker that can run on both liquefied natural gas and low-sulphur diesel. Arctia, the state-owned company that owns the state-of-the-art vessel, boasts that Polaris is the world's most ecological diesel-electric icebreaker.
The ship is packed with automated and easy-to-use technology. Some twenty years after the last Finnish-built icebreaker was commissioned, the Polaris had accumulated the expertise and needs for new solutions.
Audico Systems designed and implemented the lighting control system for the outer decks and bridge of the vessel. The intelligent lighting system, which adapts to different functions, is controlled by the Finnish Helvar routing technology. The luminaires are equipped with the latest and most efficient LED lights. Audico's technical expert Mika Eklund was responsible for the design.
The ship was handed over to its owner at Arctech's Helsinki shipyard. Her first icebreaking mission was in the Bothnian Sea.
The shape of the hull and the propeller arrangements are details of modern Finnish shipbuilding design. Polaris is equipped with three ABB Azipod propulsion units, making it easy to steer the vessel in difficult ice conditions. The ship has an icebreaking capacity of 1.2 metres of ice at six knots. The dual-fuel solution significantly reduces the vessel's carbon dioxide emissions.
Audico has extensive experience in lighting and sound installations on large ships. Mika Eklund says that Audico has been involved in about 50 cruise ship contracts, i.e. almost all passenger ships built in Finland in the last 20 years.
"We were very successful on this project because we were involved in the lighting design of Polaris from the very beginning. The shipyard supported us already in the design phase, and cooperation with the ship's master Pasi Järvelin and the shipyard's Jyrki Nurmi and Kimmo Partanen was close," says Eklund.
"Different lighting setups were designed for the different tasks of the multi-purpose vessel, such as icebreaking, towing and oil spill response. Energy is saved by not having to burn all the powerful bulbs, such as winch or gutter lights, all the time. From the control bridge, it is possible to choose whether to use preset automation or to control individual lights from a computer".
Pasi Järvelin, the manager of Polaris, says that the main task of the 110-metre breakwater is to assist ships in and out of port to keep Finland's foreign trade traffic moving. Without this activity, people in Kemi, Oulu, Tornio and Raahe, for example, would have to be laid off from their factories during the winter months.
"The vessel works very well and is a very agile workhorse. The azimuthing propeller at the bow is a great help. The more powerful machinery and three Azipods give a clear advantage over older breakers. The days are short at the bottom of the Bothnian Sea, so the LED lights around the vessel and the excellent floodlights have made icebreaking even more efficient," says Captain Järvelin, who expects the vessel to remain off Tornio and Kemi until mid-May.
The new vessel has a planned service life of 50 years. Mika Eklund believes that is a fair time, as ships that do demanding work are designed and built with special care. The components used are also of the best and most durable class in terms of lighting solutions.
"LED lamps are still evolving, but we already know that they can withstand mechanical stress better than the old discharge lamps. That's necessary, because going on an icebreaker is quite a bump and grind. Modern LEDs are also very resistant to frost," says Eklund.
"It is already common practice in ship lighting for automation to switch on different lighting modes and luminaire configurations as the prevailing light changes. Colour temperature control of LEDs is a new feature that will become more common in the near future. The colour temperature of a luminaire can be adjusted continuously to suit the desired mood. For example, a cooler white during the day is a good working light, but at night a warm yellow is better suited to the mood."
Text by Tom Nyman
Photos by Tim Bird
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