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Internationally, the demand for clean energy is growing.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, a continued investment in offshore wind is essential if we are to “make a significant positive impact on both the energy transition and environmental goals.”

At SMD, we are committed to engineering equipment that supports these ambitions. Around the world, our innovative technology is facilitating the safe and efficient installation and operation of offshore wind farms, thus contributing to the continued growth of this crucial sector.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in our longstanding partnership with forward-thinking marine contractor, Van Oord. With over 150 years of industry experience, Van Oord invests in sustainable marine solutions, as seen in its purchase of SMD’s QTrenchers, as well as our collaborative development of the ‘Deep Dig-It’ Burial Tractor.


As explained by Key Account Manager, Rob Eddon: “When it comes to the offshore wind industry, the efficient and reliable burial of subsea cables is integral to the successful operation of a site.

“Whilst these high voltage cables are responsible for transferring generated energy to homes, towns and workplaces, they are damaged by fishing trawlers, ship anchors and adverse weather conditions all too frequently.

“According to the Global Underwater Hub, it’s estimated that around 85 percent of the total value of offshore wind insurance claims relate to subsea cables with the average settlement claim in the region of £9 million.’

“Our ongoing partnership with Van Oord represents the power of SMD’s innovative technology to overcome these issues, and ensure the safe, efficient and effective installation of offshore wind farm cables.”


Pioneered, commercialised and brought to market in 2012, the QTrencher range is the result of significant research into the needs of the offshore wind sector.

Prompted by the Crown Estate’s 2010 Report, which emphasised “the potential of offshore wind… to meet the increasing demand for electricity,” SMD invested heavily in developing the technology to support this mission.

SMD’s QTrenchers are high-powered, self-propelled ROVs, operating in depths of up to 3,000 metres. As the leading subsea trenching equipment supplier, our comprehensive range provides bespoke solutions for a host of subsea settings.

Offering enhanced capabilities and safely burying cables up to three metres below the seabed, these ROVs tailor their trenching method to the anticipated conditions, with chain-cutting, jetting, drilling and dredge applications available.

Ultimately, this pioneering collection reduces the risk of damage to subsea cables, extending their lifespan and improving their sustainability.

The QTrencher 1400 is a powerful, free-swimming jet trencher, with optional chain cutter capabilities for enhanced burial, and optional tracked skids for bespoke tool deployment. This equipment successfully supported the installation of Van Oord’s Gemini Offshore Wind Park, which now powers an estimated 780,000 households.

The QTrencher 1600 delivered equally astonishing results when deployed to Van Oord’s international wind farm projects in 2018. Optimised for offshore wind applications in shallow waters, its adaptable design set a new standard in severe weather operations.


Forming part of our comprehensive Tractor range, Deep Dig-It draws upon SMD’s 50 years of industry experience, and Van Oord’s invaluable insight as one of the most experienced marine contractors in the offshore wind sector.

Deep Dig-It is the most powerful machine in its class. A fully amphibious vehicle, it drives unmanned over the seabed, simultaneously creating a trench of up to 5.8m deep, inserting cables and safely burying them.

It is equipped with jet legs, two dredge pumps and two powerful chain cutters, as well as a well-proven deployment system that allows for the post-lay burial of cables up to 500mm and 5.0 MBR. With additional surface-located water pumps feeding its jetting and cutting systems, it achieves an impressive trench depth, specifically engineered to minimise the risk of cable damage.

Deep Dig-It has successfully supported the installation of the Hollandse Kust Noord, Van Oord’s 69-turbine offshore wind farm, on which the final turbine was installed just last month.

We are proud to work in collaboration with Van Oord, and will continue to deliver excellent results for our renewable-sector clients.


At SMD, our technology has the power to transform the installation and operation of offshore wind farms, propelling us towards our clean energy goals.

By ensuring subsea cables remain protected over a longer period, we are reducing the need for costly repairs and unnecessary downtime, and improving both the safety and efficiency of the industry.

To read more about our QTrencher and Tractor ranges, click here. To find out how we could support your subsea project, please contact Key Account Manager, Rob Eddon.

Robert Eddon

Robert Eddon, KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER +44 (0) 7801194302