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Old 23-12-2012, 14:32   #46
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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Someday, there will be autonomous robots to keep hulls clean. People have made similar arguments against robots in every sphere (never as good as humans, etc.) yet every year there are additional tasks which robots do more cost-effectively (and sometimes simply better) than humans can do. It's just a matter of time, but a robot that could do the job well would essentially be an electric (possibly tethered) submarine with some rubber rollers, a scrubber, some sensors, and quite a bit of intelligence. I don't expect them to be cost-viable in this decade.
What advantage to the boat owner could there be in replacing his human hull diver with a robotic one? Is hull cleaning as it exists now prohibitvely expensive? Is it dangerous? Is it time consuming for the boat owner? It is none of these things. So where is the impetus for the devolpement of a robot that can compete with a human hull cleaner? It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, IMHO.
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Old 23-12-2012, 15:42   #47
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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What advantage to the boat owner could there be in replacing his human hull diver with a robotic one? Is hull cleaning as it exists now prohibitvely expensive? Is it dangerous? Is it time consuming for the boat owner? It is none of these things. So where is the impetus for the devolpement of a robot that can compete with a human hull cleaner? It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, IMHO.
How much is it to clean the hulls of a 38ft cat to keep them clean so not to cause drag?
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Old 23-12-2012, 16:39   #48
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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How much is it to clean the hulls of a 38ft cat to keep them clean so not to cause drag?
Hull cleaning rates vary quite a bit from region to region, but here in the Bay Area you could expect to pay about $95 to have a 38' catamaran cleaned.
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Old 23-12-2012, 17:20   #49
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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What advantage to the boat owner could there be in replacing his human hull diver with a robotic one? Is hull cleaning as it exists now prohibitvely expensive? Is it dangerous? Is it time consuming for the boat owner? It is none of these things. So where is the impetus for the devolpement of a robot that can compete with a human hull cleaner? It's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, IMHO.
Once upon a time, the same things were said about machinists versus CNC machines.
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Old 23-12-2012, 18:02   #50
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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Hull cleaning rates vary quite a bit from region to region, but here in the Bay Area you could expect to pay about $95 to have a 38' catamaran cleaned.
At once a month, that is $1200/year or $3600 for three years (round numbers)

So if I robot costs $600, you'd save $3,000 a year.
Seems like a benefit to the boat owner.
The robot can work once a week, not once a month, so the boat is always kept clean.
You also don't need $600 of expensive toxic bottom paint to be applied either,
that might not make some people in the industry happy either.

But as far I have found, there are not any hull cleaning robots on the market,
nor have I even found anyone attempting to sell them in the past.
There are plenty of patents filed for them though.

My opinion is either the technology isn't really there, or the market is just too small, not that it isn't a worthwhile product.


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Old 23-12-2012, 20:52   #51
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

Ahh for the good old days of Red Lead !! LOL just kiddin fstbot
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Old 23-12-2012, 21:29   #52
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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Originally Posted by mcarling View Post
Once upon a time, the same things were said about machinists versus CNC machines.
Although I am a Manual Machinist, CNC's still require a Machinist to program the machine based on machining knowledge. No Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street can tell a CNC to make them a part. Also Manual Machinist have not all been replaced by CNC. Now a-days our Manual machining is highly specialized and we get paid proportionately for it...thank you.
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Old 23-12-2012, 22:58   #53
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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Although I am a Manual Machinist, CNC's still require a Machinist to program the machine based on machining knowledge. No Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street can tell a CNC to make them a part. Also Manual Machinist have not all been replaced by CNC. Now a-days our Manual machining is highly specialized and we get paid proportionately for it...thank you.
Yes, a good friend of mine is a manual machinist. He makes prototype aerospace components and is very well paid. One of my best friends is a senior manager at Haas Automation and is paid a bit better. Long ago, I learned how to make moderately simple things like a bolt, cutting the threads on a lathe and the head on a mill. Nevertheless, robotics has revolutionized the machining industry and will do so with the boat cleaning industry. It's just a matter of time.
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Old 24-12-2012, 07:26   #54
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

Please send me a card when that happens. You can deliver it in your Jetson spacemobile
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Old 24-12-2012, 15:06   #55
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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At once a month, that is $1200/year or $3600 for three years (round numbers)

So if I robot costs $600, you'd save $3,000 a year.
Seems like a benefit to the boat owner.
1.- The $600 price tag for an autonomous hull cleaning robot is a number you pulled out of thin air. Not based on anything besides wishful thinking.

2.- Most boats in the Bay Area do not need to be cleaned on a monthly basis.

3.- Even if they did, your math is wrong.


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Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
The robot can work once a week, not once a month, so the boat is always kept clean.
You also don't need $600 of expensive toxic bottom paint to be applied either,
that might not make some people in the industry happy either.
Some sort of anti fouling is always necessary. Even weekly cleaning cannot keep up with the fouling on a bare hull. And you'd find that weekly cleaning of a painted hull would likely reduce the lifespan of the anti fouling paint.

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But as far I have found, there are not any hull cleaning robots on the market, nor have I even found anyone attempting to sell them in the past. There are plenty of patents filed for them though.
Did you look at the video of the hull cleaning robot posted earlier in this thread?

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My opinion is either the technology isn't really there, or the market is just too small...
On this we agree.
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Old 26-12-2012, 11:23   #56
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Another method is to lift the boat hull out of the water:

But just like the bag idea, the floats themselves will get growth on them.
I have seen installations that fit between the finger dock and lift the boat with forklift like arms on hydraulics using a pump and sea water for fluid. You need a permanent dock and the installation but this is as close to dry sailing as it gets. I have seen up to 40 foot power boats on these. Over that length and I guess another solution is necessary.
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Old 26-12-2012, 13:07   #57
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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I have seen installations that fit between the finger dock and lift the boat with forklift like arms on hydraulics using a pump and sea water for fluid. You need a permanent dock and the installation but this is as close to dry sailing as it gets. I have seen up to 40 foot power boats on these. Over that length and I guess another solution is necessary.
These things work OK for power boats but don't seem to be able to lift a yacht high enough to get the keel out of the water. They are also quite expensive and (surprise,surprise) get fouled themselves and need cleaning periodically.

There are a few of them around the East coast of Oz, but IME they seem to be used on boats that are NOT used much. I suspect that the hassle of upping and downing the thing becomes tedious for the go-fast powerboat types, and they just don't get used much.

INcidentally, we just arrived in Port Cygnet, Tasmania, and lo and behold, there is an Etchells in the mooring field lying in a genuine Boat Bath! I'll ask the owner how he likes it when I see him.

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Old 21-06-2013, 06:27   #58
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

Personally I think the next next big thing will be in coatings. Robots and lifts and even divers will not be needed if some of the new coatings they are working on come to market. The shipping industry is spending big bucks on this because it means millions in fuel and maintenance cost savings. This will trickle down to the pleasure boater. i think in the next 5 to 10 years we will see some useful new products hit the market.
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Old 21-06-2013, 08:20   #59
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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Personally I think the next next big thing will be in coatings. Robots and lifts and even divers will not be needed if some of the new coatings they are working on come to market. The shipping industry is spending big bucks on this because it means millions in fuel and maintenance cost savings. This will trickle down to the pleasure boater. i think in the next 5 to 10 years we will see some useful new products hit the market.
The world is a changing and I think that a lot of new things are to be coming our way soon,from cheap gas to 3d printers and lots of new technology for a bold new world...
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Old 21-06-2013, 08:27   #60
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Re: Ways to Keep Boat Bottom Clean?

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The world is a changing and I think that a lot of new things are to be coming our way soon,from cheap gas...

"When you wish upon a star..."
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