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Inspecting hull integrity remotely with a new submersible is now possible with Deep Trekker ™

Deep Trekker ™ means underwater hull integrity inspections can be made remotely
Deep Trekker ™ means underwater hull integrity inspections can be made remotely

Deep Trekker ™ has added to its fleet of portable, robust underwater drone robots; the DT640 Utility Crawler is designed to perform a multitude of underwater tasks.

This is a brand new inspection and service robot and is said to be the first three-wheeled vehicle of its kind. Its modular construction allows for the unit to be equipped with multiple operative attachments making the DT640 more than just an inspection vehicle. The Utility Crawler can be outfitted with magnetic wheels, pressure washer, vacuum, thickness gauge and a dozer.

Fixed with an HD camera, magnetic wheels and a multitude of application-specific add-ons; the Utility Crawler is incredibly versatile and easy to deploy at a moment’s notice.

The Utility Crawler, designed by Deep Trekker ™, is submersible to 50 meters (164 ft.), and houses its own onboard batteries, making deployment easy and quick for tasks such as contraband inspections and testing hull integrity or thickness. Magnetic wheels and various add-ons permit diverse applications such as scraping away marine growth or power washing the hull or examining for invasive species while in port. The Utility Crawler has both military and municipality applications as well.

With magnetic wheels, the Deep Trekker ™ DT640 Utility MagCrawler can crawl along vertical angles to inspect the integrity of ship’s hulls even underwater. Instead of dry-docking or returning to shore, the crew can immediately inspect the hull if they fear something is wrong, via the live video on the handheld controller.

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Wingsail technology saves fuel and reduces emissions

Oceanfoil’s wingsail technology could achieve an average fuel consumption and emissions saving of 14% on a mid-sized tanker vessel.

This is the research finding from BMT, who said that Oceanfoil’s fuel-assist aerofoil technology, which uses wingsails to capture effective directional thrust from wind power, could also save up to up to 20% in certain wind and sea conditions.

Charles Moray, managing director of Oceanfoil, commented: “Oceanfoil’s ‘wingsail’, is a propulsion assist technology that is well suited for tankers and bulk carriers, which provide good opportunity for the wingsails to use the wind to create forward thrust – thus reducing reliance upon the vessel’s main engines.

“For a mid-sized tanker like the one used for the BMT report, this would lead to savings of up to at least $500,000 per year – a huge reduction in operating expenses.”

BMT’s study considered a system of four Oceanfoil wingsails over the course of a year on a 183m, 50,000t deadweight (dwt) Panamax vessel operating in the North Atlantic.

The study identified the thrust benefits for all wind angles around the ship and used the average to define the Oceanfoil wingsail thrust at a given ship and wind speed; an approach that BMT described in its report as “conservative”.

Based on data taken when operating the vessel at or near its Continuous Service Rating (CSR), savings were estimated at 13% for worldwide operations, factoring marginally calmer sea states.

Mr Moray said that Oceanfoil is in talks with partners who could pioneer its technology.

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WAAMpeller 3D printed ships’ propeller approved

Following a rigorous testing process, verified by Bureau Veritas, the world’s first Class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller, the WAAMpeller, has been unveiled at Damen Shipyard Group’s headquarters in the Netherlands.

The five-company partnership started pooling their collective resources and knowledge to develop the world’s first 3D printed ship’s propeller seven months ago. Promarin provided the design of the triple-blade propeller. The Port of Rotterdam’s RAMLAB (Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing LAB) carried out fabrication using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) techniques, supported by Autodesk’s expertise in software, robotics and additive manufacturing.

Damen provided Research and Development resources in addition to one of its Stan Tug 1606 vessels for operational testing purposes. Bureau Veritas’ role was to verify the entire development, production and testing process.

The consortium reached its first milestone in August with the completion of the first WAAMpeller prototype. With valuable experience gained, production of the second version, with the aim of achieving class certification, started immediately.

“Production of the second WAAMpeller was greatly improved because we had learned a lot from producing the prototype,” said Vincent Wegener, Managing Director RAMLAB. “This mainly concerned the hardware/software interaction because, when laying down 298 layers of Nickel Aluminium Bronze alloy, it is important to have a tight control on all process parameters.

Damen’s testing engineers performed operational testing of the WAAMpeller on 20 November, with representatives from all of the consortium partners present. Furthermore, the day’s procedures were overseen by Bureau Veritas surveyors throughout.

Martijn Nieuwenhuijs, Chief Executive of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore Netherlands said: “Bureaus Veritas has witnessed every step of the making and testing of the WAAMpeller. Some challenges needed to be tackled along the way, but the final product is technically sound and ready for commercial application.”

The testing programme included bollard pull and crash stop testing in addition to speed trials. “Of course, we were all a bit nervous beforehand – after all, innovation always comes with a certain amount of unknowns – but the testing was a success,” says Kees Custers, Damen Project Engineer R&D enthusiastically.

“We are pleased to report that the WAAMpeller displayed the same behaviour as a conventional casted propeller in all of the tests. This includes the same level of performance in the crash stop scenario, which – going from full throttle ahead to full throttle reverse – is the heaviest loading that a propeller can experience.”

Talking before the WAAMpeller unveiling event, which took place on 30 November, Allard Castelein, CEO Port of Rotterdam took the time to highlight the efforts of the collaborating partners: “The WAAMpeller project is special for many reasons. Not only has it produced the world’s first class approved 3D printed ship’s propeller, but this has been accomplished within a very impressive seven-month timeframe and only one year after the official opening of RAMLAB.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Mr Castelein went on to identify the implications of the WAAMpeller project on the maritime industry. “This project has shown the shipbuilding industry the potential of 3D printing techniques for the production of vessel components. We continue our intensive research into this very exciting area.”

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Smallest Surface Effect Ship Sea Puffin under construction by ESNA

What is thought to be the smallest SES (Surface Effect Ship) workboat is being built in Denmark for operations on wind farms. With a length of just 15.8 metres, this new SES is being built for operators Wind Partner who plan to charter the boat out to operators.

The design for this SES, called Sea Puffin, has been developed by naval architects Espeland & Skomedal (ESNA) of Norway and features a catamaran hull with fabric skirts enclosing the air cushion between the hulls. It is designed to be capable of being launched with a standard 15 tonne single point davit system.

The Sea Puffin is powered by a pair of 230 kW diesels that are coupled to water jets. These will give a speed of 25 knots and this speed can be maintained in sea state 3 with the designers claiming that the air cushion supporting the SES will damp out motions and give a comfortable ride. In addition to transferring technicians to wind farm turbines the SES will also be capable of carrying cargoes.

ESNA claims that in addition to its sea-going capabilities this new daughter craft will offer significant savings in fuel consumption. It will have a range of 150 miles and the vessel will be classed by Bureau Veritas. ESNA has previous experience of SES vessels with their designs of larger Tern craft that are in service as standalone wind farm transfer vessels.

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Gas engine for Dutch ferry completes performance tests

The first two pre-production units of a Rolls-Royce mobile MTU gas engine for Rederij Doeksen have completed performance tests. The engines, which will be used for Rederij Doeksen’s Wadden Sea ferries service in The Netherlands, have completed over 5,000 hours on the test bench.

Paul Melles, managing director of Rederij Doeksen, said: “We are very happy with the test run. All the key engine parameters, such as the extremely dynamic acceleration behaviour, have now been verified by MTU.”

MTU, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, delivered the engines. They form part of an order for four 16-cylinder Series 4000 gas engines, each with an output of 1,492kW, for two new aluminium catamarans currently being built by Strategic Marine’s shipyard in Vietnam.

The catamarans will operate ferry services on the Dutch Wadden Sea from 2018.

Testing, carried out by Rederij Doeksen, Strategic Marine and Lloyd’s Register, involved verifying the performance data, the fuel consumption and the engine’s safety features, such as the emergency stop.

IMO compliance
The emission measurements demonstrated compliance with IMO III emission standards with no additional exhaust gas aftertreatment.

Mr Melles added: “We decided in favour of a gas propulsion system, because we will be operating our ferries on the Wadden Sea, a World Heritage Site that has been declared a particularly sensitive area worthy of protection. MTU, with the appropriate pure gas engine, is the right partner for us.”

The 16-cylinder gas engine will be available next year as a certified series production engine covering a power range from around 1,500-2,000kW. An 8-cylinder version will follow with a rated output of approximately 750-1,000kW.

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