Wastewater management specialist ACO Marine unveiled a range of new vacuum toilets at the recent SMM Hamburg exhibition, marking the company’s entry into this segment of the marine sanitation solutions market.
The company has teamed up with ceramic bathroom supplier Laufen, especially for the fitting of smaller luxury cruise ships.
The AVT 100 and AVT 150 (vacuum toilet) series, the company’s first in-house designed and manufactured toilet, was developed to provide ship operators and shipbuilders with a total wastewater management solution, from first use to discharge overboard.
With the new range, ACO Marine now has the complete marine sanitation package that includes vacuum and gravity-based toilets, vacuum generation, pumps, holding tanks, grease separators and membrane bio-reactors through to pipework, scuppers, channels and waste stream transfer systems.
Commenting on the importance of the development, Mark Beavis, ACO Marine Managing Director, said: “This new addition to the ACO Marine portfolio closes the sanitation loop, as we can now provide a one-stop-shop service for all our customers’ shipboard sanitation and water management needs.
“With our own design, we no longer have to source toilet systems from third-party suppliers and can pass on these savings to our customers, along with a vacuum toilet system that not only exceeds the market requirement but, I believe, sets the benchmark in cost effective and sophisticated toilet design.”
While the hydraulic variant – AVT 100 – is being marketed towards the commercial merchant ship market, due in part to its low cost and reduced maintenance proposition, the more sophisticated electronic version, AVT Smart100, has been designed to meet market demand from the passenger ship sector for a low-noise, ‘smart’ toilet system capable of intelligent operation.
The ACO AVT150 range is the super silent variant targeted at the luxury end of the market.
Compared to existing vacuum toilets, both the Smart and Hydraulic versions of the ACO design use different operating and control arrangements. For instance, each toilet has fewer components than competing systems, obviating the need for pneumatic valves – the component most prone to failure in traditional units. Instead, each AVT system operates a patent-protected self-closing/opening pressure valve for direct flushing.
It is the diagnostics function of the intelligent ACO AVT 100, however, that is expected to set the standard in passenger ship sanitation.
Incorporating a fully-programmable microchip in the control system, cruise ship engineering teams can, for the first time, remotely control, monitor and maintain all the toilet’s functions.
Operators can adjust flushing and suction sequences, adjust water pressures and supply and monitor the condition of each toilet connected to vessel’s wastewater system. Usually, engineers would have to trace the system back to find which toilet had malfunctioned or wait for a passenger to report a problem. Beavis told ICSI that the toilets were designed to be monitored from a hand held smartphone, I-pad, etc.
Jiří Loníček, Head of Product Management, ACO Marine, explained: “For cruise and passenger ship operators, in particular, the ACO AVT Smart100 range offers a completely new dimension to system maintenance and operability, allowing operators to remotely adjust the parameters and flushing cycles of each individual toilet.
“This significantly improves maintenance schedules and reduces operational costs, since the smart technology automatically alerts the operator to which toilet on the network has malfunctioned and which component has failed. Ships’ crews can effect repairs immediately and before passengers get wind of a problem,” he said.
The ACO AVT Smart100 variant is expected to be available for deliveries in mid-2019 and has a patent pending.
It has been piloted on a cross-channel ferry for around three months, Beavis told ICSI.
ACO Marine has also entered into a co-operation agreement with Switzerland´s resin flooring provider Sika Group to optimise the interface connections between on board drainage scuppers and channels and a vessel’s deck coverings.
The companies initially joined forces to develop evidence-based guidance on flooring-drainage connections for factory and processing facility operators.
This research proved invaluable in establishing a new way to design floor-drainage connections for land-based applications, which has now extended to develop the same for maritime application.
The connection between scuppers and channels and a ship’s flooring is a critical point since it is possible to have connection breakdown – due to dynamic and/or thermal loading – which can result in water ingress, corrosion of deck structures or floor delamination. Water seeping in to the flooring from the gutters can also create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, a major concern for passenger ship operators, in particular.
Beavis, explained: “The drainage-floor connections in current maritime use can be damaged after few years of operation, often requiring extensive and costly flooring repairs or replacement. To avoid downtime, flooring systems and hygienically designed drainage systems should be carefully selected for the different parts of ship – machinery spaces, galleys, laundries, cabins, swimming pools, etc.
“As there are currently no guidelines, ship operators and shipbuilders have hitherto used trial and error when selecting the appropriate flooring and drainage system. From this co-operation, however, we aim to optimise the connection between Sika flooring systems and ACO Marine drainage systems and establish sound guidelines for their installation and use,” he said.
Loníček said. “We will communicate the findings from the research to shipowners and shipbuilders so that they can benefit from reduced floor maintenance costs and reduce possible bacterial contamination for a safer, more hygienic environment for passengers and crew.”
At SMM, ACO Marine confirmed that the company had taken a number of orders from European river cruise operators for the supply and retrofit installation of the wastewater treatment systems.
ACO Marine will supply wastewater management solutions based around its Maripur NF advanced sewage treatment plant to 10 river cruise vessels scheduled to drydock this winter.
In addition to the Maripur NF units, the turnkey package includes grease separation systems, holding and aeration tanks, pumps and piping, plus crew training.
The vessels include the Rhine and/or Danube-operating sisters ‘Maribelle’, ‘Prinzessin Sisi’ and ‘Regina Rheni’, the 100 m long sisters ‘Prinzessin Katharina’ and ‘Prinzesse de Provence, and the 110 m long ‘Vista Fidelio’.
Equipment will be delivered to various European yards for retrofitting between November, 2018 and March, 2019, when the vessels drydock before the summer season.
All of ACO Marine’s equipment can be delivered on flatpacks, Beavis said.