Predicting the future

Predicting the future

A unique combination of big data, smart software and details of a ship’s trading pattern underpins new digital technology, developed by AkzoNobel Marine Coatings business, which enables ship managers to understand the effect of their trading routes on fouling challenge and to  invest in hull coating specifications tailored to fit a ship’s specific operating profile.

Intertrac, launched in 2012, uses AIS data to track a ships operational profile and then uses unique in-house data to overlay the actual fouling challenge based on where and when a ship has traded in certain environments and at what speed and activity profile. The use of Intertrac for selecting and applying a coating composition is protected by patents in China, Japan, and Singapore; patents are pending in several other countries.


Intertrac Vision launched in 2015 has been developed to provide predictive analysis of future coating performance and the effect on a vessels powering requirements based on a number of proprietary algorithms including the likely impact of fouling over a five-year docking cycle. Intertrac Vision has been available since 2015 and its accuracy in predicting likely hull coating performance is now proving invaluable. This has been recognized with an International patent application pending for the use of Intertrac Vision for selecting and applying a coating.

“For the first time ever in the history of complex hull coating development, big data is being used to quantify the relative fouling risk for ships operating in different geographical regions of the world’s oceans and coastal waters,” explains Michael Hindmarsh, Project Lead for Intertrac Vision.  “Instead of just analysing past performance, Intertrac Vision allows ship operators to make the best decisions on hull coating performance in the future, taking into account first cost, fouling risk and impact on fuel consumption.”


The i-Pad based software of Intertrac Vision has been formulated using 3.5 billion datasets and 2.5 terabytes of historical coatings performance data collated by AkzoNobel over more than four decades. This unique information source enables ‘what-if’ scenarios comparing the relative costs and benefits of different hull coating choices.

The Intertrac Vision software divides the world’s oceans and coastal waters into 64 ‘large marine ecosystems’, each with specific characteristics relating to salinity, temperature, thermal range, seasonality, pH value and overall fouling risk. By integrating this data with a ship’s operating profile – information available from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) in the public domain – a complete fouling risk profile can be established for an individual ship in advance of its five-year docking cycle.

The software also enables more detailed predictive analysis to be carried out. For example, is it more effective to spot-blast and repair at a ship’s drydocking, or to invest  more by undertaking a full hull blast and applying a completely new hull coating scheme?

Until now, there has been no scientific means of calculating the likely future performance of these two options, Hindmarsh explains, and so it has not been possible to calculate the net present value of fuel savings over a five-year docking cycle. We understand that a full blast and a new coating costs more up-front, but we can now demonstrate that in most cases, it is money well spent. The extra investment invariably pays back by way of fuel savings well within the five-year docking cycle, and sometimes in a matter of months. Emissions are reduced accordingly, he adds.


Intertrac Vision continues to help the industry keep pace with changing regulation. One such example is ISO 19030, the new standard for measuring hull and propeller performance. The requirements for this new standard have been incorporated into AkzoNobel’s recommendations for hull performance monitoring, which means hull coating performance predictions from Intertrac Vision can be verified and validated against actual performance using a monitoring process that is ISO 19030 compliant.

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