There are 55,000 ships in the world carrying 95% of all commodities and goods.

25% of these are Tankers, Chemical Carriers & Product Tankers. 40% of these are Bulk Carriers and General Cargo ships. These have a need for vessel stability and vessel fire safety.

Coltraco Ultrasonics designed the world’s first portable ultrasonic liquid level indicator which developed into the world’s first portable ultrasonic watertight integrity test indicator. These were designed respectively to give to Shipping safe, environmentally-friendly products and systems to replace existing labour-intensive and environmentally-damaging means to help secure these safety risks. In a Ships’ CO2 system, there may be 600 x 45KG/100 lb cylinders of CO2. The CO2 is a highly effective gaseous extinguishant designed to displace oxygen and suppress a fire in a ship. But they are under extreme pressure, often more than 50 Bar, and they can leak or accidentally discharge. If personnel are around when they discharge fatalities can occur. They must be physically dismantled, weighed and re-installed for maintenance, which the crew is not licensed to do so. 30 years ago, marine servicing companies used radioactive-sourced level indicators, but these were damaging to health and subject to IATA transportation, licensing and storage requirements. Coltraco Ultrasonics designed a portable ultrasonic liquid level indicator, now called the Portalevel™ MAX Marine and today it is the worlds most widely used liquid level indicator in ships’ CO2 and NOVEC™ 1230 systems.

Ship’s hatch-covers, multiple cable transit area, cable penetrations between bulkheads or watertight compartment doors need to be tested to ensure they deliver watertight integrity. Historically the industry use high pressure water hoses or chalk compression testing to test the seals. These methods are messy, inaccurate, time-consuming and the environmental implications of water run-off is costly. They can only be conducted when the ship is in port or when the cargo holds are empty. Portascanner™ Watertight was designed to meet the need for a clean, simple, highly accurate means to achieve watertight integrity in port and at sea, with cargo in the hold. It is small, intuitive to use, with audible and visual displays and highly mathematically accurate.

Shipping professionals understand that any marine structure “turns and bends” as it sails, that its extent is affected by its sea, weather and its load states and that as a structure ages its integrity changes and worsens. They understand that a pressurised fire extinguishing gas is effected by temperature and that its cylinder holding structure and its associated pipework corrodes over time. They know well that a fire at sea can only be dealt with two ways - by the ships’ extinguishing system or the crew. Portalevel™ MAX Marine and Portascanner™ Watertight are therefore in service in over 20% of the world’s fleet of ships, across the leading 20 Navies and in most of the world’s Oil & Gas Platforms. They are at the heart of the IMO SOLAS FSS code enabling Officers and Crew to test in port and at sea either their fire systems or their watertight integrity.

The IMO SOLAS FSS Code states that every ship “must have the means for the crew to check the contents of the CO2 system”. The crew cannot dismantle and re-install a CO2 system. The Portalevel™ MAX Marine means they can check each cylinder in 30 seconds without disturbing it. BS EN ISO 14520 Gaseous Extinguishing Systems is the global standard for a ships CO2 or NOVEC™ 1230 system. It specifically states that if a gaseous system loses 5-10% of its contents then it is not “safe”. A gaseous system is highly pressurised and as such is a “dynamic” system. It therefore needs to be monitored in the same way as oil pressure would be. There is a mathematical probability that 50% of the world’s shipping CO2 systems are beyond the permitted level of agent loss and anecdotal evidence suggests that 20% of the world fleet of CO2 is discharged or partially empty.

Coltraco are dedicated to enabling ship owners and operators to access their marine technologies to deliver a safely-operated ship and prevent its detention by Port State Control (PSC) Inspection Agencies for non-compliance. Coltraco Ultrasonic are very aware of the amount of “urgent” supply requests that increase during one of shipping’s cyclical down-turns because it is during these times when owners risk vessel detention by not placing Coltracos equipment on-board.

There is now development of the world’s first portable ultrasonic tank liquid level indicator. Coltraco have just launched the world’s first instrument to enable ships to monitor the compartment door open/closed access status when they enter the Ships CO2 Room. This is known as Portascanner™ 14520 and is a dual-function unit that can also permanently monitor the “Protected Space” of the ships’ compartment to ensure that it will “hold” the CO2 or NOVEC™ 1230, should it be discharged into it. Coltraco are dedicated to developing semi-fixed systems with the Portascanner™ Watertight Compartment Door and Portascanner™ Multiple Cable Transit Areas next year, so that shipping companies can test these structures at sea over varying load and weather states enabling them to calculate leak site aperture.

Coltraco Ultrasonics place Science and R&D at their Marine Core. If the science can be proved objectively then the mathematics should exist to support and explain it. Coltraco is the first company in our field to be able to mathematically prove the contribution to Ship Safety that we could make to it. This led to the understanding that our portable products could develop into a range of semi-fixed and constant monitoring systems and together these formed our Core Capabilities – the monitoring of ships fire extinguishing systems and structural watertight integrity.

Honesty and integrity are also at Coltraco’s core. They have developed a Vision-Mission-Strategy which has enabled them to offer opportunity to some of the brightest young and older people in the UK and some of the most dynamic and experienced people overseas. In becoming a global company, Coltraco Ultrasonics listened to Master Mariners and Marine Engineers to embody their advice and guidance. This created an international commitment to export and the development of a technical infrastructure to support it. Coltraco have visited nearly 4,000 shipping companies in over 40 countries, exporting nearly 90% of our output to 108 countries.

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