Jotun’s HullSkater to revolutionise hull cleaning
A robotic hull inspection and cleaning system installed on ships and available at all times and in all locations is being marketed as a break-through in proactive cleaning, offering shipowners an always clean hull in the most challenging operations.
Jotun has developed a revolutionary proactive cleaning solution for the most challenging operations. Jotun Hull Skating Solutions offers high performance antifouling, proactive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning, high end technical service, and performance and service level guarantees. HSS is the first solution of its kind within the maritime industry. It provides individual proactive condition monitoring services tailored for each vessel, using a proprietary algorithm and big data to accurately predict fouling development and cleaning schedules.
With a comprehensive range of guarantees and service level agreements available, HSS solves the problem of biofouling once and for all, helping shipowners steer a more profitable and sustainable path into the future. If all ships in challenging operations converted to HSS, this would result in a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 40 million tons per year.
A primary component of Jotun Hull Skating Solutions is the ground-breaking, onboard Jotun HullSkater, the first robotic technology that has been purposely designed for proactive cleaning. In combination with the premium SeaQuantum Skate antifouling and a set of services, the Jotun Hull Skating Solutions will help ship operators combat early stages of fouling, significantly reduce fuel costs, CO2 emissions and the spread of invasive species.
The HullSkater is installed on a vessel during docking and remains with the ship to be used as required. The installation is at a suitable place along the ship’s rail and includes the docking station for the device and connections. The HullSkater is designed for removing individual bacteria and biofilm before macro-fouling takes hold. This not only delivers peak performance, and unlimited idle days for shipowners, but minimises the need for reactive cleaning, cutting costs, environmental risk and optimizing fleet flexibility.
In use, the HullSkater adheres to the hull by the force of its magnetic wheels, each equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering. The vehicle has several cameras and sensors, supporting the operator with data for navigation and documenting fouling on the ship hull. The device can inspect a 10,000m2 hull in around two hours.
In cleaning mode, a specially designed motorised brush keeps the hull free from fouling without causing erosion or damage to the hull coating. The vehicle is connected to the operator’s control centre through an umbilical and can be operated remotely for vessels anywhere in the world with 4G coverage. Inspection and proactive cleaning of a hull will normally take around 2 to 8 hours depending on size and condition.
“Bio-fouling is a big challenge for the shipping industry,” commented Geir Axel Oftedahl, Business Development Director in Jotun. “It increases frictional resistance leading to speed loss and greater fuel consumption, while at the same time increasing the risk of the transfer of aquatic invasive species. It is a burden to the industry, and our planet, and demands decisive action.”
“That was our starting point in the conception of HSS – a desire to create a definitive solution to this pressing issue, one that wouldn’t just deal with the problem, but rather prevent it. That is what hull skating achieves.”
“We believe this is a landmark development for shipowners worldwide,” Oftedahl added. “Vessels are often faced with unpredictable operations, with erratic idling periods and varied operational profiles that make the selection of antifouling problematic, even for the best coatings. And once fouling grows the impacts are immediate, and damaging, with poor hull and propeller performance accounting for around one tenth of the world fleet’s energy consumption. This can make a massive impact on any owner’s bottom line.
“So, make no mistake, proactive inspections, hull cleaning and management isn’t just an operational matter, it’s a business critical decision. As such, HSS is an essential business investment.” The unique technology has been developed over several years, with comprehensive testing taking place on vessels and at selected ports. Jotun is now in the final verification stage and is currently recruiting new selected owners to be the first to benefit from this “game-changing” solution. The shipping partners’ dedicated involvement and their input to requirements, design as well as providing vessels for piloting, have been key in the development and testing of the solution.
The device was developed in collaboration with Kongsberg and Semcon both Norwegian organisations. Telenor, Norway’s largest telecommunications provider, has provided an Internet of Things (IoT) solution over its mobile network for vessels using the HullSkater. Telenor’s global footprint enables solutions for protected and secure flow of data across borders.
Trials of the device have been done on vessels belonging to Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Berge Bulk and Maersk.