Robot better at detecting hull weaknesses

A significant percentage of ship losses at sea are caused by hull damage resulting from metal fatigue and corrosion. The economics of shipping mean that vessels need to be at sea for most of their life, so locating and rectifying serious hull defects quickly, while ships are in port, is a key concern for the industry.

Finding a way to detect hull damage, before it becomes critical, is the objective of the OPTIMISE project. It has developed a magnetic robot that crawls about the hull of a ship and detects weaknesses. The information supplied by the robot is fed into a database system, and indicated on a three-dimensional (3D) representation of the ship's structure.

The system provides more accurate data than can be gathered by other means during a short turnaround time in port. It also improves data acquisition in conditions of poor accessibility and weather. The project aims to achieve reductions of up to 30 per cent in ship structural repair costs (after allowing for the setup costs of a more rigorous maintenance regime), and a 50 per cent reduction in costs for higher quality inspections. Such savings can extend the safe and economic life of the world's largest ships by up to five years.

The OPTIMISE stand has a compact disc (including video) presentation showing the robot crawling about and inspecting the hull of a ship. Visitors can also view in 3D the structure of a vessel and how the analysis modules provide corrosion and crack growth predictions that can be displayed on the 3D model.

Contact Rory DOYLE, BMT Ltd
tel +44 181 943 5544
fax +44 181 977 9304
email roryd@bmtech.co.uk
website www.bmtech.co.uk/optimise

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