The Canadian Coast Guard selected KVM from German Guntermann & Drunck GmbH to equip their icebreaker CCGS Griffon. The hardware is used onboard to distribute critical navigation information to various positions on the bridge when breaking the way through ice.

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) owns and operates the federal government’s civilian fleet and provides key maritime services to Canadians. An icebreaker must fulfil certain requirement that distinguish it from a "normal" ship like providing a strengthened hull, an ice-clearing shape and the power to push through sea ice.

The CCG plays a key role in ensuring the sustainable use and development of Canada’s oceans and waterways. Aside from supporting economic activities by organizing convoys and escorting ships through ice-covered waters, the Griffon and other members of the fleet free vessels trapped in ice and maintain fluid pathways in frozen conditions by breaking up ice to keep shipping channels open.

The CCGS Griffon is a Canadian Coast Guard High Endurance icebreaker and multi-task vessel. The Griffon belongs to the coast guard’s vessels charged to voyage efficiently and safely through or around ice-covered waters.

It measures over 71 meters long and nearly 15 meters wide (234 feet by 49 feet) and weighs over 2,247 metric tons. It carries a crew of 25 – nine officers and 16 crew members – and calls the port of Prescot, Ontario, home.

KVM paves the way
The Griffon has two rack mount servers – one for the radar system and another for the GPS system. By installing the G&D KVM matrix switch DVICenter, the Griffon has the ability to access the radar and GPS systems on any of the bridge’s five stations.

Breaking the distance – not only the ice
It’s a long way from Germany to Canada. G&D is a known expert for bridging distances, although rather from a technical view. In Canada G&D is represented by its partner Gray Matter Systems.

Gray Matter Systems has delivered data management, operations supervision, and process automation solutions to manufacturers, utilities, oil and gas companies and water/wastewater management systems for over 20 years.

"The G&D switch is a good fit for this project because the need to have multiple navigation stations is crucial on a ship bridge," Gray Matter Systems Automation and Control Consultant Denis Fauvel says. "The G&D matrix switch sets itself apart from the rest because it is the only switch on the market that is fully configurable."

KVM implement functionality to various degrees
KVM matrix switches operate hundreds of computers over one or more consoles. They are built to switch single- and dual-link DVI, VGA or display port, keyboard/mouse PS/2 or USB; USB 2.0 transparently and RS232 and audio signals.

"Most KVM products today use hot-key shortcuts or On-Screen Display (OSD) menus to access each server connected to the system," Fauvel says. "The DVICenter also permits the use of programmable keypads, the I-Keys, to select the appropriate server. The user no longer wastes valuable seconds hunting & pecking at a keyboard to switch servers."

In Fauvel’s opinion the switch’s high level of configurability allows application designers to choose a configuration that maximizes performance.

"The system allows both coarse and fine-grained control of functionality," Fauvel states. "In fact, large sections of potentially unused functionality can be bypassed if need be. Conversely, functionality can be implemented to various degrees to take advantage of built-in security protocols and user permissions."

Live at Nor-Shipping 2013
In addition to the DVICenter, Guntermann & Drunck presents further highlights to the maritime experts at this year’s Nor-Shipping exhibition. From June 4-7, G&D products, new technologies as well as interesting news about KVM solutions are to be experienced at the ship exhibition in Oslo, Norway.