Sales of Hydro-Wipers continue to climb internationally. UV light, nano thin films, chemical antifouling …there are a number of options out there for researchers deploying sensors in situ. So why are Hydro-Wipers such a popular antifouling option?
Years of reliability and proven effectiveness stand behind the Hydro-Wipers growing reputation and customer list. That is certainly worth pointing out. One of the criticisms of “mechanical antifouling” is that wipers fail in harsh environments. The Hydro-Wiper is rugged. 316 stainless steel and tough machined plastics in a housing designed and built to last. The Hydro-Wiper has a well earned reputation for reliability which is why repeat customers make up a significant portion of our sales each year. They are often bought to replace failed integrated wipers on loggers and sensors. But Hydro-Wiper sales are growing for other reasons too.
4 more reasons why Hydro-Wipers are a great antifouling option:
- It’s not all about biofouling (think sand, grit, mud, detritus, ….snails!)
While uv Light and thin film technology may take care of some issues, it is prudent to remind ourselves that there are a lot of other challenges to keeping an optical sensor or camera housing free from obstruction. UV or chemicals won’t clear sand from a sensor window and mud can be a real problem. This photo shows why…and why a Hydro-Wiper was a very good choice for antifouling.
- The environment may not really want that chemical antifouling technology. The range of chemical inhibitors that deal with biofouling is increasing and also becoming more gentle on the marine environment so hopefully good options are right around the corner. Tributyltin, once a popular antifoulant, has been banned since the 90s after its eco toxicity became apparent. Still, spraying chemical coatings onto sensor windows can also alter the optical properties of the sensor so although these can be useful, they also have limitations.
- The Hydro-Wiper can be deployed self contained, without needing an external power source – UV still requires a lot of power. A self contained Hydro-Wiper can operate on a one hour wipe interval (enough for most situations) for over 6 months…although we do recommend servicing more frequently.
- Guards, copper meshes and barriers/shutters have their place but some sensors have to be kept clear of obstruction. PAR sensors for example… The adjustable wipe angle of the Hydro-Wiper means that the brush and arm can be “parked” well away from the sensor window between wipes. The unit also senses when it has been knocked or is in a low battery state and will attempt to move itself away from the sensor window.