Norwegian marine coatings specialist Jotun claims to have “solved the problem of biofouling once and for all” with an offering called Hull Skating Solutions (HSS).
It combines a high performance antifouling, SeaQuantum Skate, with proactive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning, high end technical service, and performance and service level guarantees.
A primary component of Jotun Hull Skating Solutions is the ground-breaking, onboard Jotun HullSkater hull cleaning robot.
The HullSkater removes individual bacteria and biofilm before macro-fouling takes hold. It stays on 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 specially designed motorized 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 center 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 two to eight hours depending on size and condition.
“Bio-fouling is a big challenge for the shipping industry,” comments 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.”
The technology has been developed over several years, with comprehensive testing taking place on vessels and at selected ports. Shipping partners who have been involvedd include Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Berge Bulk and Maersk.
Kongsberg has also played many roles in the development of the HullSkater; technology development, robotics industrialization and manufacturing, in addition to service and support of the HullSkater in operation.
Product development specialist Semcon, which has considerable expertise in both robotics and digital solutions, has been involved in the development of the HullSkater from early in the project, contributing in the areas of design, analysis, software- and hardware development.
DNV GL – Maritime Advisory has been involved with the risk management of the solution, covering equipment, installation and integration of the HullSkater into the vessel and operational aspects related to safety, environment and security.
Telenor, Norway’s largest telecommunications provider, has provided an Internet of Things (IoT) solution over its mobile network for vessels using the HullSkater.
Now Jotun is in the final verification stage and is currently recruiting new selected owners to be the first to benefit from the solution.