Uniservice: Innovative Product Keeps Cruise Ships Running

The development of URI CLEAN Concentrate was partly due to the shipowners' continual problem of line blockages in Vacuum sanitation systems where uric acid deposits crystallize. When Crystallization occurs in these lines the acceleration of line blockage becomes increasingly difficult to control. The result is a snowball effect and 4" lines can become 80-90 percent blocked and in some cases completely blocked in as little as 90-120 days.

Although Vacuum systems are the best form of waste management on board a vessel, the problem of uric acid deposits continues to plague an industry that continues to expand ship size and passenger numbers. As this continues to grow the obvious result will be more line blockages and costly downtime in repairing these serious problems that ultimately reflect on the vessel and shipowner.

The crystallized deposits formed in Vacuum lines can be simply described as rock-like deposits, with pitted and scarred surfaces, which then allow other types of deposits to attach themselves. Vessels are particularly subject to problems in areas where there are 45-90 degree turns and lines that run horizontally.

In years past, marine chemical companies presented to the shipowners the idea that if a vessel uses bacteria type products in its sanitation lines, the problem of uric acid deposits would be greatly reduced and/or eliminated.

Through extensive studies and research, including those at leading Biological Institutes, it was determined that bacteria products have virtually no effect on uric acid deposits that exists within a vacuum system. Bacteria can only be effective in biodegradation when retention time is great and the environment is stable. The reality of a vacuum type system is that the vessel has neither! T h e introduction of bacteria to a sanitation system is of course excellent for a vessel's C H T (Collection Holding Tank), but it has nil effect in cleaning and maintaining a vessel's vacuum sanitation lines.

The first major step Uniservice was able to accomplish in combating uric acid deposits was the development of a unique product called U R I C L E A Nc o n c e n t r a t e .

This product combines a very unique blend of c o n c e n t r a t e d cleaning agents that are chemically effective in removal of the c r y s t a l l i z e d h a r d e n e d d e p o s i t s caused by uric acid. As uric acid deposits crystallize within the internals of a sanitation piping system, URICLEAN concentrate effectively starts the softening process of these hard-crystallized deposits, and, in a controlled time frame, begins the removal process. Each vessel has a unique system either by piping configuration and/or type of vacuum system used. Keeping this in mind, Uniservice utilizes a management approach in cleaning these systems online. It is extremely critical that the removal of the c r y s t a l l i z e d deposits be accomplished in a controlled time frame in order to avoid greater blockages at lower levels as the crystallized begin to fall off. To clean an existing problem that could reflect 80-90 percent blockage, the vessel and ship owner should allow a 90-day clean-up peri- od. If this were allowed to occur within a much shorter period of time, the blockages in lower cabins could increase dramatically as deposits begin to fall away form upper level lines. After the 90-dayclean- up period, the vessel than can reduce its dosage level greatly and only use a preventive maintenance dosage in order to preclude this serious problem from reoccurring.

Through much trial testing onboard various cruise vessels and with the assistance of shipboard engineers, Uniservice has been able to understand the proper dosage amounts required to effectively remove uric acid deposits, while maintaining an efficient and effective waste management system.

Initially we recommended that the vessel introduce the product into the heads each time the cabin was cleaned by the hotel staff. This was of course an inexpensive approach to introducing this unique product into the system. However, Uniservice was determined to develop something more accountable and reliable, while trying to avoid adding more work to the ship staff.

With the help and advice of NCL's vessel the m/v Seaward, Uniservice was able to introduce a simple inexpensive dosing unit that is fitted in strategic locations throughout the vessel.

The units are simple, reliable, require easy installation and can be retrofitted on all existing tonnage.

Our Uriclean dosing unit utilizes the ship's vacuum as a way of introducing the product into strategic locations throughout the vessel.

With new tonnage Uniservice can design a dosing system that can be fed throughout the vessel utilizing 2- 3 dosing locations from the ship's engine room. This will allow for little requirement from the ship's staff and can be easily monitored and controlled. For more information about URICLEAN concentrate and our dosing systems, please contact our U.S. headquarters in Slidell, La.

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Other stories from February 2001 issue


Maritime Reporter

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