Robots Are Coming – to Clean Cargo Holds

ShippingIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license

Robots could soon take over and simplify the laborious and, at times, dangerous and time-consuming process of cleaning cargo holds of dry bulk vessels.

Danish shipping company Dampskibsselskabet Norden has recently tested and participated in the development of a new belt-driven robot which can be operated remotely to go up and down along the sides of the holds while pressure cleaning them.

Namely, the company’s compatriot CLIIN developed the robot which in the course of 2018 and with assistance from the Market Development Fund has been tested as a prototype on one of Norden’s vessels. The new robot would improve safety, reduce water and chemical use and save time in connection with cargo hold cleaning, Norden explained.

The robot is driven forward by belts that are magnetic and therefore stick to the sides of the vessel. On top, there is a holder for the high pressure cleaner which can be turned individually.

“Preliminary results with the robot are positive. The robot is easily operated and also reaches those places that can be difficult to get to. I have seen many robots in the market, but this one is a qualified suggestion for how cargo hold cleaning in the future can be done in a better, more safe, environmentally friendly and quicker way, and it’s about time. It is pretty much the same method being used to clean cargo holds today as it has been for the past 20-25 years,” said Jonas Warming, Senior Optimisation Manager, who has followed the developments closely for the past few months.

It is expected that the robot will be ready for operation on board a selection of Norden vessels during the autumn of 2018, the companies said, adding that they would continue working together to further develop the robot.

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