Robot cuts Gibdock schedule

30 Sep 2010
The Envirobot ultra high pressure hull blasting system in action at Gibdock

The Envirobot ultra high pressure hull blasting system in action at Gibdock

First use of an advanced blasting technology has enabled Gibdock to redeliver three Danish-owned containerships that required full hull blasting and coating ahead of schedule.

The Gibraltar yard undertook blasting and painting for all three ships within the owner’s time requirements of 29 days. However, Joe Corvelli, Gibdock chief executive, said that the introduction of Envirobot ultra high pressure (UHP) robotic system from the Portuguese company Chariot Robotics on the third ship made a discernable difference to work-rates.

The UHP Envirobot was used to blast 2,000m2 of hull underwater in the ship’s mid-section, with wet-blasting used on the curved bow and stern sections. “The UHP standard is perfect and there is no flash rust due to the combination of vacuum and warming of the steel during the process, which causes the residual water to evaporate quickly,” said Corvelli. “What impressed us was the reliability of the Chariot Robotics equipment. This has been an issue with some UHP systems in the past.”

The system cleans using the energy of water striking the hull’s surface, operating at pressures as high as 55,000 lb/in². As no abrasives are used in the process, dust pollution does not occur and the need to dispose of spent abrasives is eliminated.

Gibdock production director, John Taylor, said that redelivery of the third ship had been achieved in fewer hours than her predecessors. “The technique helped us a lot,” he said. “Not only was work quicker overall, but we were able to avoid the need to dispose of grit with this ship.”

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