Smoothing the way

Recent developments in the hull coatings scene

Using ITCH “does not degrade coatings”

Norwegian technology developer Shipshave says that independent laboratory testing has confirmed there is no decrease in the thickness of hull coatings from the use of its In-Transit Cleaning of Hulls (ITCH) solution. The company says the results address a key industry concern over adoption of the innovative system.

Shipshave commissioned the Endures laboratory in the Netherlands to perform thorough tests to investigate the impact on the thickness and roughness of anti-fouling coatings from repeated brushing with the ITCH system.

Several coated panels treated with two main anti-fouling coatings – self-polishing copolymers (SPC) and fouling release coatings (FRC) – from three suppliers were exposed to natural sea water over a two-month period and then subjected to a test simulating one year of monthly proactive cleaning, with the layer thickness and surface roughness of the coating measured before, during and after cleaning.

Testing was carried out using four different brushes with varying fibre thickness placed at different angles on the ITCH system.

The semi-autonomous hull-cleaning robot, which can be deployed by a ship’s crew from a portable winch mounted on the forecastle deck, swipes up and down the hull underwater in transit using hydrodynamic energy to remain attached to the hull.

The newly published test report concluded that “no decrease in coating thickness could be found for all brush types used on all coatings” and therefore that “the ITCH can be used as a tool to remove fouling as it does not influence or reduce the coating thickness”.

The testing did show some increase in surface roughness, with no further increase after initial brushing, but the resulting roughness was still well within what is considered acceptable for a well-performing, freshly coated hull. Consequently, the “increase in roughness is neglect-able from a hydrodynamical point of view”, according to the report.

Going copper-free 

US-based coatings manufacturer PPG has launched its PPG Nexeon 810 product which it describes as “an innovative copper-free anti-fouling developed with a strong emphasis on vessel performance, emissions reduction and sustainability”.

PPG says that independent tests confirm that the ultra-smooth surface of PPG Nexeon 810 coating “can yield an immediate boost in power of up to 10% and enhance operational efficiency by up to 15% due to improved fouling control performance”.

The manufacturer says that using the new coating reduces fuel consumption and significantly lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enabling a vessel to sustain higher speeds while helping vessel owners and operators remain compliant with IMO’s carbon intensity indicator (CII) requirements of the International Maritime Organization.

PPG claims: “The coating’s unique formula can achieve a total reduction of up to 25% in GHG emissions compared to traditional anti-fouling coatings and supports 60 days of idle time resistance with minimal speed loss.”

It adds: “The unique binder technology ensures that the coating offers controlled and predictable solubility, guaranteeing strong performance throughout the vessel’s operational period. PPG Nexeon 810 coating is also suitable for electrostatic application and offers outstanding colour retention throughout the entire service life of the vessel.

Image Caption: PPG has unveiled PPG NEXEON 810 marine coating, an ultra-low friction, premium copper-free antifouling that delivers significant emissions savings

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