innovative ship building - Business in Focus Magazine


innovative ship building - Business in Focus Magazine
Ship Building
Harwood Marine is an Australian owned and managed group involved in design,
engineering, shipbuilding, marine construction, project management, and shipping since 1984. Harwood Marine has comprehensive experience in all aspects of
the marine industry including shipbuilding, ship repair, naval design, engineering, re-fit and project management on both aluminium and steel projects.
Written by Mark Golombek
ARWOOD Marine is on the cusp of realising and incorporating a revolutionary technological change.
Millions have been spent in research and development in the hopes of developing a new technology for Air
Lubrication that will change the way the shipping and marine
industry operates. Not only will this technology reduce
costs associated with marine travel, but it will also genuinely help to reduce toxic emissions and greenhouse gasses
through reduced fuel usage. It is called WAIP (Wing Air Induction Pipe technology) and the company has encountered
a lot of naysayers.
We spoke with Managing Director Ross Roberts to get a
better idea as to what’s causing all the fuss and to learn about
the company behind it.
Australian owned and managed Harwood Marine began as a
shipping company operating in the South Pacific. As it grew,
the need to branch out became obvious so it entered into
the construction side of the business. The company began
making small vessels as Harwood Slipway and Engineering
in Harwood Marina but the demand for different types of
vessels warranted a new division separate from the shipping
side. Harwood Marine itself became a standalone ship building and repair company that continued to grow and is now
based out of Queensland and the Philippines.
As part of its business plan, Harwood Marine developed a
shipyard in Cebu, Philippines. Ross explains, “When building
yachts, we found that our quotes would be twice what they
were in Asia. 50 per cent of the value of a ship is to build it
and the other 50 per cent is what it costs for the rest of its
life. Our building costs were too high because we were not
operating out of an Asian shipyard. So, we went to the Philippines because we were invited up there. It was an attractive
proposition because of all the different Asian countries it has
the highest proportion of English speakers,” thus making for
easy communication. The education and skill levels were high
in the Philippines, and the country possessed a large labour
pool. The decision to move there was obviously not a difficult
one, and has proved very advantageous to the company.
“Harwood Marine is a dynamic
company, growing in many
different areas.”
Not all corporations are environmentally friendly; many cut
corners in order to guarantee the maximum profit potential.
Harwood Marine, however, has seen to it that environmental
sustainability is a major part of its agenda. The company has
made strides in protecting the environment by developing a
blasting and painting facility on their site. Due to the remote
location, the transport of necessary materials had to come by
truck. “What we found was that we built this environmentally
compliant recycling blast chamber. It used to cost us $50.00
to bring a bag of sand blasting sand here-when used it would
go all over the ground, and it needed to be cleaned up. By
putting it through the sand blasting
machine we end up getting 10 uses out
of it. It’s not just the value of the sand,
but the freight and the cleanup. We
have dramatically reduced our costs,
have helped the environment and got
a better product.” It has turned out
to be a great investment and earned
Harwood Marine an EPA (Environmental
Protection Authority) certification.
The company is involved with another
innovation with the potential to help
the environment – WAIP. When wind
hits the water, waves or surf is produced. This disturbance aerates the
water, creating fine air bubbles which
cause the water to appear milky. Propellers on boats get into trouble in these
waters because there is no traction with
so much air in the water. Putting this
phenomenon to practical use is Wing
Air Induction Pipe technology. If these
air bubbles are made underneath the
boat, friction is reduced and it will glide
through the water – Air Lubrication.
Making the bubbles can take a lot of
energy if a compressor is needed, using
both fuel and electricity, but with WAIP
a compressor is not needed. Too much
air under the ship pushes it upwards,
but if the bubbles can be made small
enough then buoyancy will not be an
issue. The Wing Air Induction Pipe technology reduces the buoyancy and drag.
The Japanese inventor of WAIP and
professor at Tokyo University, Professor Takahashi, has also worked
on submarines for the Japanese navy, nuclear reactors
and was the chief engineer for Japan’s IHI Corporation
during the 80s. His teacher was Dr Inui, the inventor of the
modern Bulbous Bow (the protruding bulb at the bow of
a ship that modifies the way water flows around the hull,
reducing drag, and thus increasing speed, range fuel efficiency and stability). One can see where the inspiration
came from, and now Professor Takahashi wants to follow in
his teacher’s footsteps.
the Progress.
“We have dramatically reduced our
costs, have helped the environment,
and got a better product.”
Professor Takahashi uses what is called “Winged Air.” He
achieves this through a phenomenon called Kelvin-Helmholtz
Instability. This can be seen at the interface between air and
water moving at different velocities causing a cloud of super
fine bubbles, or micro-bubbles. If these bubbles are created at
the front of the boat then you can drive the ship right through
them, and the bubbles adhere to the side of the ship, which
Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH
Dr. Hans Liebherr Str. 1
6710 Nenzing/Austria
Tel.: +43 50809 41-280
[email protected]
enormous.” Maersk is still interested in
working with WAIP which speaks to the
importance this technology can attain.
“Once implemented, the
prediction is that there
will be up to 20 per cent
savings on every vessel.”
The bottom line here is that up to 20
per cent could be saved off of fuel
means less drag. This has been proven
in trials, and has helped to cut emissions by 10 per cent with the potential
for more. The problem is that it has not
yet been accomplished on a full scale,
with larger ships. Presently it has been
proven on 80 metre ships meaning
that it is only a matter of time until the
technology can be transferred onto
the larger vessels.
Maersk is the biggest shipbuilder in the
world. It has experimented with Wing
Air Induction Pipe technology on a
larger vessel. After going through some
trials, it seems there is still work to be
done. But, it has said that if successful,
it will save $600,000,000 per year in fuel
consumption. “And that’s only fuel. If
you start to think about carbon taxes
you are saving another $69 per tonne of
fuel burned. Large ships burn about 50
tonnes per day, so the savings can be
costs. Fewer greenhouse gas emissions
also means fewer carbon taxes. Engine
maintenance costs will also go down; it
will also take less time to get from point
A to point B. This technology has been
proven on 80 metre ships and simply
needs more time to enable it to work
on larger ships.
The biggest obstacle for Harwood
Marine is to convince governments or
anyone else for that matter to invest
in this potential. “We have done our
own trials at Harwood, but we are a
little company and do not have the
resources to fund this technology.”
Earlier this year Ross Roberts travelled
to Turkey with Professor Yoshiaki Takahashi speaking at the “Smooth Ships”
conference at the Turkish University.
“The eyebrows were raised. What we
are talking about is revolutionary, but
I spend a lot of time with people who
look at me sideways. We really need
the big ship companies to get behind
this. They need to recognize how this
would save the industry! Let’s throw
some money at it.” In speaking with ship
owners, “I asked each ship owner about
how much they spend on R&D? Nearly
all of them said zero per cent. They are
waiting for someone else to do it.” He
adds, “Everyone wants the invention
and the technology, but who is going
to put the money up?”
Other current projects Harwood Marine
is working on include aluminium line
and pilot boats for the Australian ports.
“We are also working on multipurpose
vessels. Imagine a square tugboat with
cranes and drilling rigs. They are very
versatile for working in ports. They are
used for pipe laying. We are also using
truckable barges at 12 metres by 3
metres. We had a surge in the market
due to the Queensland floods because
everyone had to pump out their mines
which were all inland. So, little barges
were needed that could be moved on
trucks. We launched a big vessel up in
the Philippines – a passenger/cargo
ship. It was quite unique because it
could do everything that a passenger/
cargo ship could do.”
Harwood Marine is a dynamic company,
growing in many different areas. It is also
a company that operates without debt
or loans, a testament to its solid business plan. Harwood, however, is much
more then this... it is a company on the
verge of greatness, with the potential
to make a huge difference in the way
shipping companies do business.
the Progress.
Hardwood Marine
162-164 River Road, Harwood Is. NSW 2465
Phone: 02 6646 4222
Int.: 61 2 6646 4222
Fax: 02 6646 4472
Int: 61 2 6646 4472
Email: [email protected]
Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH
Dr. Hans Liebherr Str. 1
6710 Nenzing/Austria
Tel.: +43 50809 41-280
[email protected]
675 Victoria Street | Abbotsford VIC 3067 | Phone: 02 8412 8119 | ABN 93 143 238 126

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