Intelligent de-icing for winterisation needs

March 2017

Finnish companies Aker Arctic and Pistesarjat have jointly founded a new company that provides intelligent de-icing systems for winterisation needs. Ilkka Rantanen from Aker Arctic is stepping in to lead the new company Starkice Oy.

Winterisation is a general term for solutions needed in vessels, platforms and equipment to function efficiently in freezing conditions. Examples are passages, stairs and rescue-zones, that require de-icing to maintain 100% operability in all conditions, or doors, handles, hatches and machinery that need de-icing to function properly, and decks, which need to be kept ice-free for cargo space. Not to forget take-off and landing of helicopters and aeroplanes.

“Many modern Arctic vessels and offshore structures have a system in place for de-icing, because it is needed to be able to work properly when temperatures go below freezing point,” Ilkka Rantanen explains. “However, until now these systems have been manually controlled, which means they are either turned on or turned off, and can easily be in the wrong mode and lead into very high OPEX .”

“The business logic of our Intelligent De-Icing System (IDS) is, that in addition to the heating element, intelligent software and control unit is included in our turn-key delivery. This controls the de-icing function based on actual physical ice-accumulation, not only temperature or humidity,” Rantanen says. “This brings significant cost savings, because heating is only activated when it is really needed. It also means increased safety because walking and working areas are not slippery, and it frees people from control functions and manual de-icing work.” Basically this brings savings on CAPEX and OPEX.

Remote supervision

The de-icing system is set to work automatically, but all the details are available on the control system, which works even on a tablet. This remote control system allows supervision of the system even from the other side of the world, when needed. Fully automated loading systems can work independently, even in harsh environment, because no personnel are required on site to make sure the system is ready to operate or perform  manual de-icing.
Development work has been ongoing for nearly two years. Simultaneously first deliveries of turn-key installations have been performed. Information and practical experience about the system in a harsh environment is gathered continuously and improved services are ready to be used with our new “Starkice Cloud” -software.
Rantanen visualises other potential areas for Starkice Oy in addition to safety and cargo handling.
“Winterisation is needed in many areas on a vessel or platform in order to keep areas ice-free and functioning properly in freezing conditions. e.g. cruise ships with heated paths to the pool where people can walk barefoot in winter or sometimes weather causes unpleasant situations for balconies or other outdoor areas on a cruiser. This always leads to missed earning potential for vessel operators. If guests cannot use the space as planned, it is just a burden to move these areas on a vessel. There is obvious market potential to generate more opportunities, even during demanding climatical conditions.”
“Two world-leading companies in their own fields have joined forces and created a much-needed contractor for winterisation services. Now all components and a fully functional system delivery can be ordered from one location.”

Source: Aker Arctic Technology Inc Newsletter Arctic Passion, page 16. March 2017.