Glafcos Marine Ltd is a technical group, which provides multi-disciplinary services and systems for the maritime industry. Among other acivities, Glafcos is an accredited service supplier, member of Classification Societies, in the field of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). As a service supplier, we have great interest in participating in research projects developing novel technologies that will facilitate and improve the quality of our work. For this reason, Glafcos has taken part in many EU funded projects concerning robotic assisted ship inspections (INCASS, MINOAS, ROBINS, BUGWRIGHT2).
In ROBINS, our contribution was focused in the definition of operational procedures and metrics for the evaluation of the Robotic Autonomous Systems (RAS). Based on our expertice in NDT techniques, we had to specify the proper use cases for the RAS, as well as the metrics for the quantification and the final evaluation of their performance. Furthermore, we assisted in the design of the testing facility, in the development of the Ultrasonic Thickness (UT) system, in the definition of specifications for the algorithms for defect recognition, in the field trials and in the assesment of the testing facility. Finally, being a partner who actively participates in the ship inspection market, we implemented the cost-benefit analysis for the technology developed in the project, to assess its potential for a possible market entry.
Since the main role of Glafcos was to offer the specifications for the operational procedures and for the evaluation of RAS assisted inspections in the beginning of the project and to perform the cost-benefit analysis in the end of the project, a considerable challenge was that -in both cases- there exist strict time limitations. On the one hand, in work package 1, our work should have been completed in order for the other work packages to begin. On the other hand, in work package 9, we had to deliver in due time, despite any preceded delay, since the project was at its end. We managed to overcome these challenges based on our experience on the requirements and the market of ship inspections, as well as on the participation in research projects with tight deadlines. Thus, we had the know-how to perform our tasks and we had also a well-organized research team, who worked efficiently to deliver on time.
Our participation in ROBINS offered us the valuable chance to cooperate with partners from all around Europe, who work in the same, similar or very diverse fields from us. Through the contact with these partners, we managed to exchange knowledge and experience on our field of interest and to discuss for possible business cooperation in the future. Moreover, the development of new technologies that will facilitate and improve our work, which took place in ROBINS, was surely exciting and useful for us.
Since ROBINS is coming to its end, we have to underline that, through the analysis conducted in the project, we assess that the RAS inspections have a great potential in the ship inspection market. In this direction, as a service supplier, we are certainly interested to adopt RAS in our services. To achieve that, Glafcos is already participating in new EU funded research projects that will upgrade the RAS technology to the next Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and they will bring this technology even closer to the market entry.