An innovative project led by PPG, MACtac, Meyer Werft/ND Coatings, VertiDrive and Hamburg Ship Model Basin HSVA has set its sights on delivering an automatic application process for allowing an innovative self-adhesive/fouling release film to be used on commercial sea-going vessels.
PPG’s protective and marine business recently announced that the project had receives and injection of EU funding.
The technology being developed amongst the project partners as part oftThe eSHaRk (eco-friendly Ship Hull film system with fouling Release and fuel saving properties) project incorporates a fine-tuned fouling release system, based on PPG’s premium 100 percent silicone binder technology, and a self-adhesive film specially designed by MACtac for underwater use. The project will address two key aspects relating to marine antifouling coatings. The first is productivity improvement with through the development of an easier and faster application of the fouling release system without the traditional constraint of overcoating intervals. The second is ensuring the minimum impact on Environment, Health and Safety requirements, waste reduction, no VOC emission and minimising the need for safety equipment at time of application.
PPG’s SIGMAGLIDE® self-adhesive film is the antifouling product that sits at the epicentre of the project.
The eSHaRk technology applies PPG silicone fouling release technology onto a self-adhesive film specially designed for underwater exposure. As part of the project, new robotised application technology is being developed by VertiDrive which will be used to apply the film on large commercial vessels in an automated way.
Furthermore, the surface morphology of the film will be optimised to enhance drag reduction, fuel savings and emissions reduction benefits to a level previously unattainable, say PPG.
Following extensive laboratory testing, including flow channel drag reduction experiments conducted in a state of the art flow channel at HSVA, several small scale in practice applications have been successfully conducted and PPG is now looking for full scale testing and validation in operational conditions before market entry with the support of ND Coatings/Meyer Werft.
PPG say evidence from a number of trial applications to-date evidence that the film system is offering a growing number of clear advantages at the newbuild stage.
Going forward, PPG reports that both the number of trials, as well as the size of trial vessels will be increased in order to validate the system thoroughly prior to full scale commercial launch.
According to PPG Product Manager Christophe Cheikh, this project is pivotal as although there are a number of fouling protection technologies currently exist in the marine market, a number of these solutions face challenges concerning their environmental impact, the efficiency of application and fouling protection potential. Which is a growing concern for the industry. Therefore, it was time for PPG to step up to address through the eShark project.
For Cheikh, one thing he is certain of is that this new film-based technology has the potential to set a new standard in the market for fouling protection products.
The eSHaRk project has a targeted launch date of 2018.
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