Greensea launches new robotic hull cleaning solution

Greensea launches new robotic hull cleaning solution
Armach’s bespoke on-hull navigation system is key to its business model. Image source: Armach Robotics

Marine software firm Greensea Systems has launched spin-off company Armach Robotics to offer a subscription-based robotic hull cleaning system using autonomy, intelligence and data fusion.

The solution is capable of 100 per cent coverage of the hull surface excluding niche areas, and provides up to 10 per cent reduction in fuel consumption by reducing the resistance between the vessel and water.

The robotic hull cleaning solution uses a tested brush system that is non-destructive to the hull coating, avoiding the use of human divers. Caterpillar tracks, which are kinder to hull coatings, are used, and a non-magnetic adhesion to the hull, which is suitable for military vessels and non-steel hulls.

The system saves costs by reporting back to the shipowner with valuable information, effectively creating a hull condition survey every time it cleans a hull. Any damage or corrosion is picked up early by the robot’s cameras and sensors, so a decision can be made on whether rectification is necessary or whether ongoing monitoring will suffice.

The hull cleaning robot benefits from a small platform to enable it to reach tight spaces on the hull. Its size also makes it very portable.

As the robot cleans, the software operating it builds up an inch perfect ‘mental map’ of every feature of the hull to enable greater cleaning efficiency during the next clean.

Born out of Greensea Systems, Armach robots use Greensea’s navigation systems to ensure the robot cleans the hull in the quickest and the most efficient way possible.

Armach is currently in the ‘Build it prove it phase’. This key phase will allow Armach to build, develop and iterate the robotics platforms and prove that the technology and model work in the real world.

The company is also working with first adopter partners towards a wider roll-out of pilot programs in 2022.

“You can’t offer shipowners 100 per cent hull cleaning coverage using an autonomous, robotic solution unless you have a very accurate navigation solution. We (Greensea) began working with the Office of (US) Naval Research back in 2018 on just a system to make proactive in-water cleaning with a robotic solution a reality for the first time. But we couldn’t find a manufacturer or vehicle partner that would enable us to enter this industry and achieve the level of potential that we saw. So we have spun the Greensea technology out into this new entity, Armach Robotics,” said Ben Kinnaman, Greensea Systems and Armach Robotics CEO.

Rob Howard, VP growth and strategy at Armach Robotics noted: “Hull drag is time and money in the shipping business. The system we have devised represents the closest any company has got to fully autonomous hull cleaning. With our navigation solution, the robot’s route across the hull is optimised to within inches ensuring no areas are missed or over cleaned, so we can be efficient and fast in performing our service.”