Click photo to enlarge
The calendar of events for Career Week.
The calendar of events for Career Week.
The calendar of events for Career Week.

Bruce Nelson

The primary focus of Manchester's Battenkill Technologies is the design, development and manufacture of inspection systems that reduce the costs of maintenance on U.S. Navy ships. Battenkill supports the design and development of these systems through a combination of support from the Navy's Naval Research Laboratory and internally sponsored research and development programs. Battenkill is also a technology transition partner with the Naval Research Laboratory's Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering. In this role, Battenkill transitions prototype technology developed by this laboratory into products that are suited for Fleet use.

Battenkill Technologies manufactures a Tank Monitoring System that is used on Navy ships. This system is installed in the ballast tanks of Navy ships and provides an indication of whether the conditions in the ballast tank are conducive to the corrosion of steel. This system affords a means to determine if the ballast tanks are deteriorating without requirements to open the tank and prepare them for manned inspection. This is significant as the costs for opening and preparing a single tank on a Navy ship for a manual inspection is roughly $15,000. Battenkill additionally provides training to Navy maintenance personnel on the use of these systems. The Tank Monitoring Systems are currently being installed on two classes of Navy ships. Three additional ship classes are considering using these systems.

The Insertable Stalk Inspection System (ISIS) is a pan/tilt/zoom video camera based inspection tool for assessing the condition of tanks and voids on Navy ships. The camera is lowered into the tank and a video display, joystick and zoom in/out buttons are used by an inspector to assess the tank's condition (through the video) and to capture images of the tank's condition. Once a suitable image set is collected, subsequent image sets can be collected under computer control. The image sets are analyzed by advanced algorithms that are used to provide a quantitative assessment of the tank or void's condition (the extent of corrosion and coatings damage) and to assemble a report that documents the inspection and its results. Savings of as much as $22,000/tank have been documented by the Navy using this system.

Battenkill Technologies is also currently working on the development of a Fuel Safe version of the ISIS system. A prototype Fuel Safe ISIS obtained certification for use in fuel tanks from Factory Mutual Approvals last year. This year it is anticipated that two systems will be delivered to Navy maintenance personnel. The company additionally provides training to maintenance personnel on how to use these systems. The Fuel Safe ISIS is likely to find commercial application as an inspection tool for the inspection of fuel tanks and storage facilities.

Some additional systems that Battenkill is developing include a Surface Profile Tool for shipboard use and an inspection video camera that identifies corrosion of metal structures in real-time. The Surface Profile Tool is currently being used to assess the profiles of "nonskid" coatings that are used on ships to help stabilize both sailors and equipment. The objectives for this system are to use it to ensure that new nonskid has been applied with adequate profile and to assess in-service nonskid to determine when sufficient wear has occurred to mandate nonskid coating replacement. The inspection video camera is being used to assess corrosion on Navy ships. This portable and battery powered system applies advanced image processing algorithms to the video stream and provides the results on its video display in real-time. Battenkill Technologies is currently exploring the potential use of this technology for assessing the condition of steel bridges and Marine Corps vehicles.

Bruce Nelson is president and co-founder of Battenkill Technologies.