Robotic Solutions: The Modern-Day Shipyard

Transforming Shipyard Maintenance and Repair

The Modern-Day Shipyard

Nearly 80 percent of all global trade is conducted by sea, making the maintenance and repair of the world’s more than 50,000 commercial ships a critical component of the global economy. A single disruption in service, such as a cargo ship breaking down at sea before reaching its port, can create a wide-ranging “butterfly effect” on the supply chain.

At the same time, like many industries, shipyards and shipbuilders are facing a widespread labor shortage and an aging workforce. Additionally, shipbuilding and ship repair operations can expose workers to dangerous chemicals, fumes, and blasting debris. Workers often need to handle complex equipment at height, in confined spaces, and even underwater while ships are docked or underway. These hazardous environments often increase the risk of injuries, fatalities from falls from height, and challenges inherent with underwater operations. Such strenuous work leads to high worker fatigue, contributing to a high labor turnover rate.

To meet these challenges and compete on a global scale, while maintaining the seaworthiness of commercial vessels, the shipping industry requires cutting-edge technological innovations that can provide a safer way for workers to do their jobs while increasing productivity and efficiency. With the ability to operate on land, dockside, and underwater, the Sarcos suite of next-generation, technically advanced robotic systems and solutions complement human labor’s physical abilities and expertise by enabling more agility, productivity, and performance of physically demanding tasks—all while dramatically increasing safety.

Working alongside humans, our solutions can help fleet maintenance and repair operators modernize their shipyard operations.

Our solutions can address a deep and wide range of use cases addressing modern-day shipyard needs and enable shipyards and shipbuilders to keep things running smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at what’s possible based on specific use cases:

Visual and NDT Inspection and Repairs

Non-destructive testing (NDT) methods are powerful, non-invasive techniques to determine the integrity of a component or structure of a ship and to discover flaws without causing any damage to the ship itself.

At-height surface prep and corrosion control for shipbuilding and maintenance

Ship repair and maintenance operations include surface preparation tasks such as removal of flaking paint, rust, and marine growth from a ship as well as painting and coating which requires working at height as well as underwater. These operations and others, such as hydro- and grit-blasting, can expose workers to inherently hazardous work environments, including working with toxic chemicals and complex machinery.

Working at height includes inherent risks for a human workforce, and implementing a robotic solution to help manage and execute these challenging tasks is where Sarcos comes in. Take a look at Sarcos solutions designed specifically to overcome these challenges: the Guardian® XT™ and  Guardian XM.

The highly dexterous Guardian XT and Guardian XM robots, designed for IP-66 ratings, can perform at-height surface prep tasks while human workers remain at a safe distance to guide operations.

Underwater Inspections In Lieu of Dry Docking (UWILD), hull inspections and repairs:

Protecting and maintaining the hull's integrity is critical to keeping a ship in seaworthy condition. Periodic hull, rudder, and propeller inspections, including removing unidentified objects attached to the hull while ships are underway, are incredibly laborious tasks, exposing workers to extremely dangerous and unsafe conditions.

Underwater inspections require solutions with specific requirements not necessarily above ground. Making sure you are employing the right technology to get the job done safely, efficiently, and correctly is paramount. Our Guardian Sea Class underwater robotic system enhances the safety of workers while increasing their productivity for faster inspection and repair. Take a deeper dive and learn more about how the Guardian Sea Class system is helping shipyards, shipbuilders, and underwater maintenance professionals solve some of their most complex challenges:  Guardian Sea Class

Ship alignment at drydock

Precision alignments often need to be performed during a dry dock outage to enable the proper operation of propulsion, steering, and weapons systems. This labor-intensive process is performed by divers for long hours and must be conducted precisely in a complex environment to ensure perfect alignment and avoid damaging the ship.

Easing this burden on a workforce is one of the many reasons Sarcos developed underwater solutions to safely guide large, expensive watercraft to equally as massive and costly docking locations. Supervised and teleoperated by professional, human workers, our Guardian Sea Class underwater robotic system can help complete ship alignment tasks much faster from a safe, topside location.

Interior tank and bilge blasting & spraying

During ship maintenance, human crews must open and inspect oil and water holding tanks for corrosion, oxidation, and rusting, as well as for exposure to other contaminants. They must be promptly and properly cleaned and/or repaired with blasting and spraying, exposing workers to fumes and chemicals in confined, unstructured spaces.

Our rugged, outdoor-rated robots can perform these jobs while workers supervise from a remote distance, enhancing safety and improving productivity. While ensuring worker safety is a mainstay for Sarcos robotic solutions, we also design our systems to get the job done efficiently and effectively in support of our customers’ needs and missions. Find out what Sarcos can do to help your company when it comes to tank maintenance with the Guardian S remote visual inspection robot.

Parts sequencing and delivery:

Ship repair and maintenance involve handling heavy tools that must be delivered from the dockside to the ship during dry dock and vice-versa. Delivering parts and tools that weigh upwards of 50 pounds is a highly labor-intensive and strenuous job, leading to high worker fatigue. It is also highly inefficient. The industry is looking for efficient ways to handle these tasks while minimizing worker fatigue.

Sarcos creates custom solutions to help companies address these challenges by removing the excessive burden from the individual or by supporting the individual’s task with teleoperated capabilities to aid in productivity, ensure safety, and mitigate fatigue that often sets in with repetitive, heavy-lifting tasks and operations.

About Sarcos

Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation designs, develops, and manufactures a broad range of advanced mobile robotic systems that redefine human possibilities and are designed to enable the safest most productive workforce in the world. Sarcos robotic systems operate in challenging, unstructured, industrial environments and include teleoperated robotic systems, a powered robotic exoskeleton, and software solutions that enable task autonomy.