Following years of research and collaboration with industry partners, Jotun has developed a proactive cleaning solution for the most challenging operations. A primary component of the solution is the Jotun HullSkater, the first robotic technology that has been purpose-designed for underwater hull inspections and cleaning to help vessels combat early-stage fouling.
The solution is a new approach that involves cleaning the hull regularly before hard growth takes hold and prior to changing geographical bio-environment, therefore keeping the hull free of fouling at all times as opposed to conventional reactive cleaning methods. This approach is less aggressive, causing less damage to both the coating and the local environment, while also reducing fuel consumption on passage and the risk of transporting invasive species from one bio-environment to another.
The system uses non-abrasive brushes to remove fouling without damaging the anti-fouling coating. The HullSkater is designed to be kept on board at all times in a portable unit station with launch and recovery ramp. It is remotely operated from shore via 24/7 operating hubs with no divers needed, so the HullSkater can be used in harbour and at anchor. The system also has high-definition inspection capabilities through multiple camera feeds, enabled by cloud-based storage and self-supplied power.
The solution is currently targeting parts of the merchant fleet that have particularly challenging operations and a need for operational flexibility. However, Jotun has revealed that the technical platform that has been developed holds the key to endless future innovations. Both second- and third-generation solutions are currently being worked on and there is likely to be applicability to superyachts in the future.
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