Stena Icemax / Wärtsilä


M&N Controls & Automation has extensive experience in creating control panels that automate operational processes in challenging & diverse environments. The Stena Icemax brief challenged the design & build teams to fabricate automated controls that could replace failed equipment and be operational within a tight timetable.

The Stena Icemax Vessel

Acting as a dynamically positioned drill ship, the Stena Icemax spends significant periods operating within the harsh environment of the Artic Circle. With the failed equipment deemed beyond economic repair, and the vessel due to resume its operational duties in just weeks from docking in Poole, M&N were approached by Wärtsilä to provide a solution. The new control panel would need to automate multiple onboard wastewater processing applications, relating to both the drilling function and needs of a 180 strong crew.


  • From initial design brief to delivery to vessel the team had just 4 weeks
  • Operational specifics dictated bespoke elements needed to be incorporated into design

Design and Build

Ordinarily, the industry standard for delivery of such a project from initial consultation to delivery would be between 8-12 weeks. Recognising the challenging timeframe, the Controls & Automation team assigned a dedicated 4-man team to the Stena Icemax project. Following comprehensive integration assessments, the design team utilised advanced modelling & design software to test various options to ensure the fabricated unit met pre-determined 'Control Panel Operating Parameters'. A MBR8 Type 2 Control Panel was selected as best suited to meet the operational needs of the vessel.

To fit within the exisitng infrasture onboard, the control panel was produced to:

  • Accommodate a PLC Automation Control System supplied by Wärtsilä
  • A size of 2m (h) x 1m (w) x 400mm (d)
  • Incorporate telemetry & onboard monitoring
  • Meet IP68 rating specifications
The Manufactured Panel

The stainless steel IP68 rated cabinet was fabricated in-house to be plinth mounted onto a floor panel below deck and incorporated PLC hardware from Schneider and Mitsubishi. A bespoke Variable Speed Drive was needed for the unit and despite the short timeframe, M&N were able to call upon long-standing relationships with suppliers to meet the challenging deadline.

Rigorous in-house testing of the finished Stena Icemax control panel was undertaken prior to dispatch, significantly reducing commisioning time on board.

"The tight timeframe and complexities of the build were certainly challenging. As an approved supplier to Wärtsilä we pulled out all the stops to meet their deadline, ensuring that the wastewater processes aboard the Stena Icemax were ready to operate efficiently as she was put back out to sea."

John Wiles, Controls & Automation Manager