Greensea Launches In-Water Hull Cleaning Solution

Armach Robotics will capitalize on Greensea Systems’ digital expertise to offer a subscription model robotic hull cleaning system using autonomy, intelligence and data fusion By Phoebe Grinter / 10 Mar 2022

Launched at the AMPP Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas, 7-9 March 2022, marine software company Greensea Systems Inc. has launched spin-off company Armach Robotics, that capitalizes on Greensea’s digital expertise to offer a subscription model robotic hull cleaning system using autonomy, intelligence and data fusion to tackle biofouling and its subsequent drag and performance penalties.

Armach develops the novel technology required to change the paradigm of ship husbandry. The hull cleaning robot is a small, one-man-portable platform that can get into tighter spaces on the hull. With caterpillar tracks that are kinder to hull coatings and a non-magnetic adhesion to the hull, hull cleaning robots are suitable for military vessels and non-steel hulls. 

The game-changing aspects of the Armach system involve the navigation and hull intelligence systems. With accurate navigation, robots can be autonomous, data can be referenced to the hull, and 100% coverage can be assured.

While Armach’s technology is what makes it stand out, Armach is not a technology company and does not sell robots. The company is a service provider that offers a subscription service for clean hulls and hull intelligence.

The Armach service guarantees clean hulls and all the attendant benefits that brings, from cutting fuel consumption by up to 10% to regaining complete control over invasive species. The system also saves costs by reporting back to the shipowner with valuable information, effectively creating a hull condition survey every time it cleans. Any damage or corrosion is picked up early by the robot’s cameras and sensors, so a decision can be made on whether rectification is necessary or whether ongoing monitoring will suffice.

Rob Howard, VP Growth and Strategy at Armach Robotics, added: “Hull drag is time and money in the shipping business. The system we have devised represents the closest any company has got to fully autonomous hull cleaning. With our navigation solution, the robot’s route across the hull is optimized to within inches ensuring no areas are missed or over cleaned, so we can be efficient and fast in performing our service.”

The company uses Greensea’s industry-leading navigation systems to ensure that the robot cleans the hull in the quickest and the most efficient way possible. As the robot cleans, the software operating it autonomously builds up a ‘mental map’ of every feature of the hull so it can be more efficient next visit. Because the Armach system is scalable and efficient, cleanings can be performed more regularly, with the use of a thoroughly tested brush system that is non destructive to the hull coating with the built-in system intelligence meaning it will not overwork the coatings.

“You can’t offer shipowners 100% hull cleaning coverage using an autonomous, robotic solution unless you have a very accurate navigation solution,” said Ben Kinnaman, Greensea Systems and Armach Robotics CEO. “We (Greensea) began working with the Office of (U.S.) Naval Research back in 2018 on just a system to make proactive in-water cleaning with a robotic solution a reality for the first time. But we couldn’t find a manufacturer or vehicle partner that would enable us to enter this industry and achieve the level of potential that we saw. So we have spun the Greensea technology out into this new entity, Armach Robotics.”

Armach is currently in the ‘build it, prove it phase’, which allows the company to build, develop and iterate the robotics platforms and prove that the technology and model work in the real world. Armach is also working with first adopter partners towards a wider roll-out of pilot programs in 2022.

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Posted by Phoebe Grinter Unmanned Systems Technology’s digital editor and copywriter Phoebe takes a fresh and enthusiastic approach to researching, writing and posting the latest unmanned technology updates, and in managing the UST social channels. Connect & Contact