A startup company called Tas Global is commercializing what it says is the world’s only robot capable of cleaning freely on curved surfaces.
The company has registered more than 30 patents in 16 countries including the US on the journey to bringing the robotic system to market.
Selected as a South Korean government project, Tas started by developing technology for processing organisms attached on a ship’s hull.
Now one of the most highlighted maritime small businesses, CEO Kim Yusik says the company is “contributing to environment-friendliness of the maritime industry”.
He adds: “We have commercialized an economical and environment-friendly underwater robot cleaning system for the first in the world.”
Awarded the new technology representative certification in the mechanics field by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy the next year after its establishment, Tas Global says it is showing “solid technological strength”.
The hull cleaning robot of Tas Global attaches strongly and softly on ships underwater and on the water surface. It is the only robot capable of cleaning while moving freely on curved surfaces.
The robot is operated by various sensors and 8 cameras facing all directions. While the robot’s body weighs 200 kg, it moves smoothly by maintaining positive buoyancy.
An in-house developed portable filtration system of Tas Global, connected to the robot’s body, can clean microorganisms and microparticles in three stages.
Selected as supervising company for government project of “ship hull attached organisms processing technology development”.
With the world’s first and best technology, Tas Global was selected as the supervising company of this year’s government project eight years after its establishment.
The company was selected as the supervisor of the research project Development of Technology for Processing Organisms Attached on Ship’s Hull executed for the “clean sea, rich fish field” national policy assignment of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
In this project, supported with 16.3 billion KRW during 5 years, institutions including Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering, Korea Register, Korea Maritime Institute, Korea Testing & Research Institute, Korea Marine Equipment Research Institute, Snsys, Proxy Healthcare, Safetech Research, jointly participated.
The commissioned institutions are Korea Maritime University, Changwon University and Gyemyeong University, while the beneficiary organization is HMM.
Additionally, as an international treaty on cleaning ships in water using new technologies would be drafted and enacted jointly by International Maritime Organization, United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility within three years, the successful performance of this assignment has become crucial than ever.
Prior to this, Tas Global joined the international industry association of IMO’s The GloFouling Partnerships Project as the first in East Asia to set its environment-friendly robot technology as an international standard.
When the international treaty established, maritime shipping companies must have organisms attached to the underwater body of ships removed and maintain the organism attachment at a state below a certain level (minor seaweeds).
Tas Global is evaluated as the most competitive, being the only company that has developed and commercialized a robot technology that attaches on the ship’s surface and moves without slipping. It registered over 30 patents in 16 countries, namely the US and Europe.
The safety of the industrial divers is of the highest priority, and Tas says it “will prepare an environment-friendly ship cleaning standard”.
Tas Global is attentive to the safety of industrial divers. Robot work emerges on large areas and standardized works, but underwater repairs occur on small areas and are of irregular nature. Divers focus on works requiring precision.
Tas Global prepared an internal safety guideline exceeding the safe diving equipment and complementing the manpower structure specified in the occupation safety and health acts.
It’s another goal is to consistently invest in the procurement of highly-priced industrial diving equipment to normalize the Korean industrial diving system, which has not been sensitive enough to safety so far.
Based on such technological capability, Tas Global has signed a contract with HMM on robotic underwater ship cleaning and diving works in 2020 and has continued until today. Tas Global is also closely working with international major shipping companies such as CMA CGM, and Inchcape.
Kim says: “To contribute in the environmental friendliness of maritime industries, we have completed the world’s best-class economical and environment-friendly underwater robot cleaning system.
“Tas Global will contribute to the development of shipping industries by providing the standards for environment-friendly underwater ship cleaning in the future as well.”