January 2017: Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) are pleased to announce the signature of a contract with S.B. Submarine Systems Co., Ltd. (SBSS) for the design, manufacture and delivery of the next generation MD3XT submarine telecom cable plough. The complete plough system will come equipped with an optical umbilical and SMD purpose-designed and manufactured umbilical winch. This will be supplied together with the control and power cabins to provide a complete turnkey solution.
“Tom Qiu, Fleet Operations Director of SBSS, explained “SBSS have identified the MD3XT Plough as providing the leading solution for our telecom cable installation requirements. The 3.3 metre burial capability in up to 1500 metres water depth and the ability to interchange plough shares at sea ensure SBSS continue to offer class-leading equipment to our customers in Asia. Having used the SMD systems for the past 16 years to bury over 15,000km of cable, SBSS have the utmost confidence in the technology and we look forward to receiving our new MD3XT Plough and providing our valuable clients with the region’s most advanced and efficient installation solutions.”
The MD3XT is the latest of its kind and whilst retaining all of the well-proven features of the original machine, it has a number of innovations to improve performance and reliability. Designed for strength and endurance, yet remaining light in weight, it has the ability to trench progressively deeper from 1.1 metres to 3.3 metres at a tow force up to a constant maximum of 80 tonnes. It also has 720hp (530kW) of jetting on the plough available in all water depths up to 5000ft (1500m), a standard and extended share boot to optimise performance and simplified telecom cable loading.
“We are delighted to win this contract and use the knowledge and feedback of clients like SBSS to improve our products,” said Paul Davison, Managing Director of SMD Trenching, Mining and Renewables. “Improving our products is key to unlocking value for our clients. We expect this MD3XT will increase performance rates by a factor of up to four and that is due to SMD innovations in plough and umbilical technology which differentiate this product in the market, this is especially important given the activity and growth in the submarine telecoms market.”
Drawing on 20 years experience of delivering launch solutions for both SMD equipment and third party equipment, the MD3XT will also include bespoke umbilical winch to provide a compact, reliable and robust umbilical handling solution. This will fully support the plough and will be integrated with the existing vessel A-Frame and fit within the available deck space.
With a strong commitment to reducing cable fault rates and providing a safe and highly reliable service to their owners, SMD has delivered more than 70 cable ploughs which together have buried over 100,000 kilometres, representing the vast majority of telecoms cables across the globe.
The plough will be delivered in Q4 2017 and mobilised onto the CS FU HAI.