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January 2023 – Engineering Excellence Underwater: A Year in Review

As we enter 2023, Mike Jones, Chair (and former CEO) at SMD shares his memories of SMD’s biggest and most notable successes from last year and what he is most looking forward to in the year ahead.

He said: “Following five years of growing our services offering, January 2022 provided the perfect platform to make some key hires and have a bit of a reshuffle. We made the decision to add dedicated resources to our operations and services teams as well as investing more in engineering. Jon Greening stepped up to run our Engineering department. Richard Bray was brought in as Operations Director and Liam Forbes became General Manager for Services.

“The three new positions brought about masses of change to SMD. Having historically been a manufacturing company, we saw how the market was changing and started to offer, for the first time, framework agreements to clients such as Van Oord. This meant that for any maintenance or repair work of our equipment, the cost was covered – and not only that – the work would be carried out by SMD personnel meaning the work is completed more quickly and the job can continue at pace.

“We also strengthened our relationship with a longstanding key client in Brazil. Project manager, Abi Thompson (pictured) was a key component in that partnership – so much so that the oil and gas business has just purchased another four of our ROVs that are being built as we speak.

“Another milestone moment that stands out for me is the work our trencher completed in Taiwan. Taiwan is notoriously tough to work in, with severe weather conditions often halting projects as well as strict import regulations. Despite these challenges, the client, Van Oord successfully worked on an offshore wind farm project there using our technology, including our Artemis software, without any major hiccups proving that working directly with an OEM is advantageous.

“We continued our success in Telecoms. Working with Dubai-based E-Marine, we recently delivered our MD3 plough and QT500 trenching ROV that will support their projects in the Middle East.

“We also invested a lot of resources developing our electric vehicles in 2022. Sustainability is always high on the agenda at SMD and not only have we developed the Quantum and Atom EVs but a whole host of other sustainable technologies to help clients and the planet.

“2022 was a record year for Spares and Services, and we will continue to grow our services team and services offering. Since the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, clients have definitely shifted their buying behavior and remain cautious. Upgrading existing equipment is often a better option than buying new, both from an economical stance and for the environment.

“We have five brilliant new apprentices in our team now and are currently in the process of recruiting graduates to help bolster several departments.

“Our EVs will also be available for clients this year which we believe will revolutionise the way all of us complete projects.

“Along with offshore wind, we believe that Telecoms will remain a strong sector for us as many organisations are seeking more secure ways to communicate and protect their data.

“Thank you to all staff and clients for your continued support and here’s to another successful year for Soil Machine Dynamics.”