Ship Hull Cleaning & Blasting

The hull of a ship is an important structural component of a vessel specifically engineered to support the contents of a ship and to be watertight. Hull (and propeller) maintenance is without a doubt important, but why exactly is this considered as such?
abrasive blasting

7x more efficient

8x faster than manual

86% reduction in cost

Ship Hull Cleaning & Blasting

Why are ship hulls cleaned?

Hull cleaning and blasting assists with the removal of unwanted roughness and marine fouling from a ship’s belly (the buildup of organisms who have attached themselves to the hull such as mussels, barnacles and tubeworms). When marine growth is allowed to develop on the hull and propeller, the subjective vessel will experience an increase in drag. This increased drag negatively impacts the relationship between fuel consumption, speed and power and therefore, the overall efficiency of the ship.

Ships hull cleaning is important because:

  • Cleaning the hull reduces a ships fuel consumption,
  • Manufactured vessel speed is maintained through the reduction of drag,
  • Any hull related issues/damage can easily be viewed and repaired,
  • Future anti foul removal costs are minimized,
  • Engine overheating is prevented (blocked intakes),
  • Biofouling and the presence of invasive species is reduced (for many countries this is becoming increasingly important).

Ship Hull Cleaning & Blasting

How does ship hull cleaning work?

Today, many methods are used for ship hull cleaning and maintenance. However, years ago ship hull maintenance was completed by hand through the utilization of scrappers and chippers. One can imagine that the job was a dauntingly laboursome task that required a lot of manpower and time. Ship hull cleaning by hand is still used today in certain situations however, it is often forgotten when more practical, safer, and time-effective methods are available. Some of these methods include UHP equipment such as high pressure water blasting, underwater brush karts systems magnetic robot crawlers.

High Pressure Water Blasting: High pressure water blasting systems are routinely used for ship hull maintenance. This method functions as a manual hull cleaning method with an operator who is required to direct and manage the water blaster. The downside of this method is that significant amounts of manual labor and safety equipment are required to complete the clean alongside the potential of over-blasting the hull, due to human error, which would remove the ship’s anti-fouling paint.

Underwater Brush Karts: A method of underwater hull cleaning. Hydraulics propel industrial brushes below the body of the brush kart. These various brushes work collectively to scrub away any marine growth on the ship’s hull and propeller. What is undesirable about this process is that the body of the kart itself is fairly large (up to 170 kg in weight) and requires a highly trained diver to direct and operate the system.

Magnetic Robot Crawlers: A magnetic robot crawler is a dry-dock cleaning robot that completes antifoul removal via remote control. Powerful, permanent attached magnetics allow the robot to operate across the entirety of a ship’s hull while the operator is at a safe distance. The operator needs to connect a manual blasting system to the robot, place the robot securely on the hull of the ship and the crawler is ready to go. The magnetic crawler is a Vertidrive specialty for effective ship hull cleaning and maintenance.

Ship Hull Cleaning & Blasting

VertiDrive Abrasive Blasting and Waterjetting Solutions

The VertiDrive team are the proud designers/suppliers of the abrasive and water blasting robot solutions: the VertiDrive M3, VertiDrive M4 and the Vertidrive M7.

The M3 and M7 are: 7x more efficient and, 8x faster than manual ship hull cleaning methods, with up to 86% reduction in costs.

While the M4 is: 5x more efficient and faster than manual methods, with up to 92% cost reduction.                                       

All of the previously mentioned VertiDrive solutions are hull blasting robots that have been designed to clean vessels with maximum productivity and minimal operational costs. Each functions as a carrying platform for traditional hand-held blasting equipment, an operator simply needs to connect the robot to the hose line of a hand-held blaster and they are ready to work. Important to note is that the operator will always be located safely on the ground, far away from any ship hull maintenance related hazards.

These ship hull cleaning robots can be used for ship anti foul removal within a dry dock cleaning scenario. Horizontal, vertical, curvatures, corners and overhead surfaces are all a breeze for these robots through the use of permanent, powerful magnets.


VertiDrive’s Robots

VertiDrive M3 high pressure robot

VertiDrive M3

In addition to the perks that we have already mentioned, the M3 is an exceptionally straightforward blasting robot to disassemble. This makes for much easier access to spaces such as manholes and other confined spaces. Interchanging the M3 with the VertiDrive M4 is also possible with the help of the M3 – M4 conversion kit, which allows an operator to make use of the M4’s specialized hydroblasting capabilities.
closed blasting and washing robot

VertiDrive M4

The M4 is a closed hydroblasting solution. In combination with the VertiDrive Vacuum System the surface worked upon will dry immediately thus, preventing flash rust and reducing environmental waste. This also enables other technicians to simultaneously perform other maintenance work, contributing to significant time savings to bring the asset earlier back into service.
VertiDrive M7 abrasive blasting robot

VertiDrive M7

The most powerful piece of VertiDrive’s abrasive blasting equipment. Operating the M7 is possible when working upon challenging steel surfaces with curvatures and irregularities. As the wheel design of this blasting robot contains a short, narrow base with a small working radius the M7’s maneuverability is ideal for working in narrow, hard to access spaces.

Let's get in touch

Contact Details

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Phone: +31 10 763 02 00

Gieterijweg 15
3089 JZ Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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