SMD Services complete major MD3 Plough upgrade for Orange Marine

November 27, 2017

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) has successfully completed an upgrade to the MD3 (multi-depth) plough recently acquired by Orange Marine.

The plough, which was delivered to the SMD Services team for refurbishment in July, received a full control system upgrade and extensive overhaul.

SMD Services’ dedicated team of engineers based at Port of Tyne in South Shields assessed the equipment and devised a detailed refurbishment strategy to enable it to work as new.

The project involved replacing the plough’s original control system hardware which had become obsolete. SMD also supplied a passive scissor frame assembly to be fitted to the launch and recovery system.

In order to integrate the new and original hardware, SMD installed a bespoke QNX software update and also fitted the plough with an upgraded surveillance system featuring top of the range sonar, cameras and lighting.

The MD3 upgrade provides Orange Marine with state-of-the-art capabilities for the installation and burial of optical submarine cables which will be used for the first time in the installation of the Kanawa system between French Guiana and Martinique. The cable is scheduled to be operational in late 2018 and is being put in place to handle traffic growth and diversify connection points to ensure quality of service between countries.

SMD Services works closely with clients to ensure maximum performance from their assets. The SMD Services business, established in 2016, supports customers through the full life cycle of any subsea asset. The company provides 24/7 operational and engineering support, intelligent spares support, asset management, life extension, repurposing and OEM training.

Graham Puntis, Managing Director of SMD Services, explains: “This has been a fantastic project to work on. By working closely with Orange Marine, we have delivered an asset that will continue to serve their needs for some time to come. Through SMD Services we are providing a new level of support which helps industry owners and operators to optimise their operational costs. By offering an extensive technical support and refurbishment service we are enabling them to maximise the lifetime and financial return on their subsea intervention assets.”

SMD Services’ dedicated offshore support team is travelling to Brest in France to mobilise the plough on board the vessel for Orange Marine.

Raynald Leconte, Chairman and CEO of Orange Marine, said: “We are very pleased to complete the upgrade and refurbishment of this MD3 plough with SMD Services. This opportunity completes the range of submarine equipment alongside the equipment produced by Simec, a department of Orange Marine.”

The MD3 Plough offers reliable trenching in most soils including clays and sands, it is designed to minimise pull force requirements and provide effective trenching capability from zero to 3.3m depth and 3.0m of cover.

SMD is a world leader in the design and manufacture of remote intervention equipment, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and innovative trenching and mining systems for the subsea industry globally.

SMD Services

SMD Deliver Deep Sea Mining Vehicles

November 3, 2016

February 2016: This week marks a significant milestone for subsea engineering company SMD as the MV Happy Delta, loaded with the world’s first deep sea mining vehicles, leaves the port of Tyne.

In late 2007 SMD was awarded with a contract to design and build the world’s first deep sea mining vehicles for Canadian listed company Nautilus Minerals. Eight years on, having worked in close partnership with the customer, this massive feat of engineering is complete. The SPTs and associated equipment, totalling over 1000 Tonnes, have now been loaded onto the vessel which has set sail for Duqm Port in Oman where they will undergo further testing.

As well as the three mining machines or Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs), SMD designed and manufactured the full spread equipment required to remotely operate, launch and recover the SPTs from the deck of the ship onto which they will be installed in 2017.

SMD conducted rigorous commissioning and factory acceptance testing on the full spread of equipment in dry conditions on land at their production facility in Wallsend, North East England prior to shipping. The SPTs will now undergo extensive wet testing at the port facility in Oman which is designed to provide a submerged demonstration of the fully assembled SPTs, prior to commencement of the first mining operations in 2018.

The load out operation took place at Swans, an advanced manufacturing site being developed next to SMD’s site on the banks of the River Tyne. It was the first operation of its kind to take place at Swans’ recently dredged 9m-deep quay.

SMD CEO Andrew Hodgson commented “It is a fantastic achievement for SMD to deliver another engineering world first project. Our engineers have taken proven technology which we have developed over forty years, and adapted it for a new application to suit Nautilus’ needs, and we’re very proud of that.

“We thrive on using our problem solving skills to help our customers make the impossible possible and we’re delighted to have been involved in what stands to be a game-changing project facilitating birth of a new industry.”

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston commented “Nautilus’ approach in building the world’s first seafloor mine was to seek out world class partners, leaders in their respective fields, and SMD’s unparalleled leadership in the design and manufacture of remotely operated vehicles operating in the earth’s harshest environments certainly reaffirms the validity of that strategy.”

“SMD’s engineering design and manufacture of our seafloor production tools is simply second to none; we thank them for their invaluable partnership and their determined leadership in building these impressive machines, and we look forward to seeing them in action on the seafloor once our project at Solwara 1 is in production in 2018.”

Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council which owns Swans, said: “We are delighted that world-leading projects like this are being delivered at Swans.

“Our state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facilities being developed at Swans and other sites make North Tyneside one of the best places to do business, and we’re thrilled to be helping those in the marine, energy and offshore industries to compete in a global market.”

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