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Jotun launches hull cleaning robot technology

Shiprepair & Maintenance: April 2020Jotun

According to Jotun, the HSS package covers antifouling, condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning, technical services, and performance and service level guarantees. The company adds that its service package has condition monitoring services that will be modified for each individual vessel, which it claims uses Big Data to predict fouling development and corresponding cleaning schedules.


The HSS system’s main component is the HullSkater, a robotic technology designed for proactively cleaning ships developed in partnership with Kongsberg. It has been designed to work in harmony with Jotun’s SeaQuantum coating to pre-emptively remove bacteria and biofilm before macro-fouling takes place. Magnetic wheels, each one equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering, hold the device to the ship’s hull and a motorised brush at the front of the device cleans without damaging or corroding the hull coating.


Connected to the operator control centre by an umbilical cable, the robotic technology can be handled remotely using a global 4G network. A series of in-built cameras and sensors provide data feedback for the remote operator, which assists with navigation and documents fouling on the hull. Additionally, it can complete the inspection and cleaning of a ship’s hull in between two to eight hours, depending on the vessel’s size and condition, and provides the vessel with an unlimited amount of idle days.


Jotun believes that if all ships operating in challenging conditions switched to its HSS, there would be at least a 40 million tonne reduction of CO₂ emissions each year due to the improved efficiency of each vessel. Another advantage the company cites is preventing the transmission of invasive species.


“This solution allows us to proactively remove fouling from the hull before it has chance to affect the hull performance and before it becomes a problem in terms of biosecurity. At the same time, it does this without causing erosion or damage to the hull surface, which no one has been able to do before,” claims Geur Axel Oftedahl, business development director at Jotun. 


Kongsberg, Semcon, DNV GL, Telenor and shipping partners such as Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Berge Bulk and Maersk, have all been involved in creating HHS. Jotun has now reached final verification stage and will, in due course, select the first shipowners to operate its HSS technology.