Regular dry dock maintenance work on ship hulls is essential for maintaining the efficiency and sustainability of the shipping industry. Hydro blasting is one of the major processes of dry dock maintenance work, where human labor is extensively used. The conventional methods of maintenance work suffer from many shortcomings, and hence robotized solutions have been developed. This paper proposes a novel robotic system that can synthesize a benchmarking map for a previously blasted ship hull. A Self-Organizing Fuzzy logic (SOF) classifier has been developed to benchmark the blasting quality of a ship hull similar to blasting quality categorization done by human experts. Hornbill, a multipurpose inspection and maintenance robot intended for hydro blasting, benchmarking, and painting, has been developed by integrating the proposed SOF classifier. Moreover, an integrated system solution has been developed to improve dry dock maintenance of ship hulls. The proposed SOF classifier can achieve a mean accuracy of 0.9942 with an execution time of 8.42 μ s. Realtime experimenting with the proposed robotic system has been conducted on a ship hull. This experiment confirms the ability of the proposed robotic system in synthesizing a benchmarking map that reveals the benchmarking quality of different areas of a previously blasted ship hull. This sort of a benchmarking map would be useful for ensuring the blasting quality as well as performing efficient spot wise reblasting before the painting. Therefore, the proposed robotic system could be utilized for improving the efficiency and quality of hydro blasting work on the ship hull maintenance industry.
Keywords: benchmarking blasting quality; hydro blasting; robotics for ship maintenance industry; self-organizing fuzzy logic classifier; ship hull maintenance.