Hull Skater

Jotun reveals a ‘robotic lawnmower’ to keep ships’ hulls free of biofouling

The Norwegian headquartered firm  Jotun has developed a solution that can offer shipowners “always clean hulls”, even in the most challenging operations and environments, the company claims.

Courtesy of Jotun

The unique approach named Jotun Hull Skating Solutions combines remotely operated robotic technology, a special antifouling coating and a range of customized services.

As explained, the most innovative aspect of the solution is the HullSkater, a remotely operated robot that stays with the vessel at all times.

The robot is lodged in a custom housing on deck when not in use, roaming the vessel on magnetic wheels when operated through Jotun’s dedicated control centres via 4G connection.

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Jotun compared the compact unit to a robotic lawnmower that’s very good at diving. The unit is equipped with high definition cameras and sensors, helping to monitor potential biofouling and collect data.

As explained, it also empowers the operator to clean to a standardised level of excellence, every time, solving the issue of lack of standardization in the hull cleaning business.

” This is conducted with the HullSkater’s built-in brushes ensuring zero damage to the vessel and its specially developed Jotun SeaQuantum Skate coating,” Jotun said.

“The whole process takes between just two and eight hours, dependent on vessel size and condition.”

“With proactive condition monitoring, utilising our proprietary fouling prediction algorithm, we can accurately predict levels of fouling and customise service levels and guarantees for each individual owner and vessel,” Tom H. Evensen, Sales Director, Hull Performance Solutions – Jotun, comments.

“Effectively, that means we can catch biofouling at a very early stage, slime or biofilm and ensure ‘always clean hulls’, with minimal speed loss, for our global customer base.

“Quite simply, there is nothing else like it on the market.”

Jotun said that it has thoroughly piloted and vessel tested HSS for over two years, adding that it offers shipowners in this niche unlimited idle days, minimal reactive cleaning requirements, an expected maximum speed loss of 1.0% over a standard five-year drydocking period, and a minimum fuel cost saving of 12.5% (compared to a vessel with typical average performance).

“Despite the excellent coatings currently available, owners facing the most challenging operations need a new solution for optimal hull performance… and this is it, “states Evensen.

“If all vessels in our targeted segments converted to HSS, it would result in a CO2 emissions reduction of at least 40 million tons per year, not to mention huge benefits in terms of operational expenditures.  

“We believe that is an incredible powerful proposition.”

Jotun is now in the final stages of commercialization with HSS and is currently recruiting selected owners to be the first to benefit from the solution.