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Jotun launches digital hull care system

Norwegian coatings company, Jotun, has unveiled a new algorithm and big data-based system, Hull Skating Solutions (HSS), consisting of high-performance antifouling, proactive condition monitoring, inspection, hull cleaning, technical services, and performance and service level guarantees.

The company claims that the digital set-up will provide condition monitoring services tailored for individual vessels, predicting fouling development and proposing related cleaning schedules. 

A key component of the HSS system is the first robotic technology that has been specifically designed for proactive cleaning. Combined with SeaQuantum Skate antifouling and a set of services, HSS will help ship operators tackle the early stages of hull fouling leading to a reduction in fuel costs, emissions and the spread of invasive species. “If all ships in challenging operations converted to HSS, this would result in a carbon dioxide emissions reduction of at least 40m tonnes per year,” the company claimed.

The robotic HullSkater remains attached to a ship’s hull through the force of its magnetic wheels, each equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering. The system has several cameras and sensors which provide the operator with data for navigation and the condition of fouling on the hull.

It is connected to the operator’s control unit through an umbilical and can be operated remotely on vessels anywhere in the world with 4G coverage. A motorised brush keeps the hull clean without damaging the coating and typically takes between two and eight hours, depending on size and hull condition.

Geir Axel Oftedahl, Jotun’s business development director, declared: “We believe this is a landmark development for shipowners worldwide. 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.

“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,” he continued. “This can make a massive impact on any owner’s bottom line. So make no mistake, proactive inspection, 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 system is now undergoing final verification and Jotun said that it is now recruiting selected owners to be the first to benefit from this “game-changing solution”. Developed over several years, partners in the project so far include Kongsberg, Semcon, DNV GL, Telenor and shipowners Berge Bulk, Maersk and Wallenius Wilhelmsen. 

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