Innovative subsea vehicle specialists Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) have secured a new contract working in collaboration with a leading global subsea cabling company.
As part of the contract, SMD will supply the next-generation MD3-XT Plough, capable of trenching up to 3.3metres with jetting, at depths of up to 1,600metres. The new contract includes the installation and commissioning of the complete turnkey system including (LARS). The MD3‐XT Plough is recognised globally as setting the standard in telecoms cable ploughing, reliably trenching in most soils including clays and sands. Its unique ‘multi-depth’ hinged chassis design allows for optimum burial performance which is variable up to 2.2m for shallower burial requirements or up to 3.3m, with an additional share boot fitted for deeper burial campaigns. SMD Curvetech equipment is packaged as the main backbone of the Plough power and control system providing reliability through the utilisation of standardised field-proven component modules.
The high-performance 530kW jetting capability of the plough increases the efficiency of the trenching process by fluidising the seabed in front of the share. This reduces the tow force required by the lay vessel by up to 50% resulting in significant fuel savings during operations and unlocking progress rates of between two to five times faster than its non-jetting equivalent, depending on seabed conditions.
The innovative new plough umbilical system has been upgraded to a semi buoyant jetting cable meaning no buoys are required to be tied to the cable during plough deployment making offshore operations safer, easier and faster. The A-Frame is an SMD 35Te wide-angle system certified for use in up to sea state 5 and allows the plough to be launched and towed from the same wire, reducing operation times and deck complexity.
Work is currently well underway on the design and manufacture, which is due for completion in Autumn 2020. It is the 3rd plough supplied by SMD for this company and will replace a former 12-year-old model.
Matthew Woodward, business development manager, telecoms systems, at SMD, said; “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this new plough and launch system. We have a long-standing relationship with this particular client and the fact that this will be their 3rd plough is a testament to the value of our relationship and the reliability of our technology. We focussed on understanding the client’s unique needs and aspirations. We have worked closely with the customer to adapt the equipment to fit their existing vessel. This system provides significant innovations and upgrades to a ploughing solution that has served them well over many years.”