The water contains a microbiome of various species of larvae in suspension that will attach themselves to marine structures and surfaces if the conditions allow. These larvae require a number of environmental criteria to be in an optimum state to allow them to begin the colonisation process. These criteria include water temperature, salinity, light levels, time of year, concentration of larvae and seed in the water. These along with other criteria can affect colonisation depending on the species and type of growth. A suitable surface to attach to is also essential.
Our goal is to use ultrasonic sound waves to create a resonance in the structure which causes a vibration in the surface being protected. This, in turn, becomes a sub-optimal location for the colonisation process to begin. This vibration can only prevent the colonisation at the larval stage. Mature growth creates bonds that are too strong to be affected by the vibrations. To this end, ultrasonic antifouling systems can only keep a clean surface clean, they can not clean a heavily fouled surface.
It sounds like a simple process but acoustically there are many challenges to overcome, especially on complex structures such as coolers. It is the research and development that MGPS and our partners have undertaken that sets Ultraguard apart from the competition.
In the control panel, each transducer has its own control board and power supply. These generate ultrasonic acoustic signals which are then boosted via an amplifier and sent down the cable to the transducer. The transducer is attached to the structure being protected by an adhesive bond. It is essential that there is always full surface to surface contact between the transducer head and the protected structure. This is why we choose the bonding method over methods such as a screw in mounting ring, welded or attached to the surface. In that method the ultrasonic waves can loosen the transducer in the mounting ring.
By causing each transducer to resonate at the correct frequency we induce the required vibrations which prevent the larvae from attaching themselves to the surface being protected.
Ultraguard’s design means that if a transducer cable, power supply or control PCB is damaged or fails it can be swapped out by ship’s staff in a matter of minutes. The rest of the system can operate as normal until the replacement takes place so there is minimum downtime and minimum loss of antifouling effect.
How It Works
The seas and waterways contain a suspended microbiome of larvae and seed which will become marine growth.
To colonise and grow these larvae require the correct conditions. Sunlight, salinity, water current and temperature all require to be at optimum levels.
If all the criteria are correct and there is a suitable stable surface to attach themselves to, the larvae will colonise that surface and start to develop into marine growth.
Ultraguard Antifouling uses pulses of ultrasonic sound at specific frequencies to induce a resonance response in the surface to be protected. This causes the surface to vibrate.
By causing the protected surface to vibrate slightly at the correct frequencies, Ultraguard creates a sub optimal environment, which prevents the larvae from attaching to and colonising the surface.
Keeping a ship’s hull free of marine growth in this manner drastically reduces drag on the hull. This reduces fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately reduces the vessel’s operating costs.