Marine supplier Oceanmax knew it had a world-class product that could also save customers money. It called in Callaghan Innovation to prove it.
- Oceanmax knew their marine foul-release coating product not only kept vessels clean but also improved performance on the water. But they needed scientific evidence to back it up.
- Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Solutions team worked with the business to design and supply sound technical methodology, including sea trials, numerical modelling and lab testing.
- Off the back of the findings, Oceanmax has been able to negotiate with an international cruise operator, with sales to entire fleets especially offering huge opportunities.
They have really gone the extra distance for us from day one by helping to establish a springboard for high-quality innovation through expertise and funding, meeting with and learning about our potential customers, and assisting with building a secure IP platform.
Dr Michael Jones - Technical manager, Oceanmax
Dedicated to the ocean and dedicated to protecting the performance of your underwater assets, it’s Oceanmax International.
A New Zealand company with a 20 year history, Oceanmax had already developed Propseed, the “gold standard” in marine foul-release technology that they knew kept vessels clean. The thing is, they also knew it improved the performance of vessels on the water, the problem was they needed scientific evidence to back it up.
To take Propspeed into the commercial sector especially, required Oceanmax to conduct an intensive and detailed study to gather data supporting these claims of fuel savings, reduced engine wear and increased speed.
That’s where Callaghan Innovation came in.
Oceanmax engaged Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Solutions team to quantify performance improvements so it could sell performance as a feature to large ship owners.
For large ships, even a small percentage decrease in shaft power for the same thrust can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fuel savings. This would obviously make the product an attractive proposition for fleet operators.
The power differences being measured were expected to be small (but significant when accumulated over time), meaning they were difficult to measure in the presence of large variables such as water and atmospheric conditions and motor-efficiency variations.
Callaghan Innovation’s team of scientific experts worked with the Oceanmax team to design and supply sound technical methodology, which included sea trials, numerical modelling and lab testing.
Sea trials are notoriously difficult to get definitive results from due to the huge number of variables, i.e., sea state, salinity, currents, wind, etc. However, the team managed to do this by designing and fabricating a device capable of accurately monitoring motor power, torque, boat speed and wind speed. This was carried out on two vessels and adhered to ISO standards for ship performance testing.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of the propellers of the two vessels matched the sea trial results, so was then applied to a large, 5 metre diameter cruise-ship propeller. Lab tests with a closed-circuit hydrodynamics rig validated the CFD model and quantified the product’s performance benefits.
Dr Jones says he was impressed with the commitment shown by Callaghan Innovation.
“They have really gone the extra distance for us from day one by helping to establish a springboard for high-quality innovation through expertise and funding, meeting with and learning about our potential customers, and assisting with building a secure IP platform,” he says.
“The case managers and staff have been engaging, knowledgeable, invested in what we were aiming to achieve, proactive and friendly. They are people who really do want things to happen. They wanted success for us and I think that’s great; I’ve been really impressed.”
Through the high-calibre research, Oceanmax was able to validate their initial findings. This has led to tangible business outcomes for Oceanmax.
For example, as a direct result of the research and modelling, Oceanmax is in the final stages of negotiation with an international cruise operator looking to use Propspeed on one of its 30 liners. If the operator extends the product’s use to its entire fleet, it could generate annual sales worth six figures for Oceanmax.
“And that’s just one company,” says Dr Jones. “If we can take Propspeed to other fleets - off the back of the research - it’s big business.”