SMD’s Quasar WROV Reaches 5760m Subsea

April 1, 2019

March 2019:

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd are pleased to announce that a deep-sea Quasar Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicle (WROV) has successfully completed sea trials. The 6000m rated WROV, complemented with an electric drive dual-purpose winch and Launch and Recovery System (LARS), reached the seabed at 5,760m during the trials. The complete turnkey solution was recently delivered to Shanghai Salvage and has undergone extensive testing at various depths. The system was supplied with interchangeable winch drums which can be changed out on deck to achieve operational service at depths up to 3000m or 6000m when required.

By making use of electric motors powered via a Low Harmonic Variable Speed Drive application, rather than hydraulics, SMD were able to offer an environmentally friendly energy-efficient launch system.

Paul Davison, Managing Director of SMD’s Equipment business comments, “This is a significant milestone for our WROV and deck technology. Reaching maximum operating depth during sea trials establishes the Quasar WROV as the most capable deep-water WROV in the market. Being able to operate at such depths opens up endless possibilities for the deep-sea salvage, survey and exploration markets and I am looking forward to watching this market continue to grow.”

For more information on our range of WROVs visit:

General ROVS

SMD deliver QTrencher 500 compact high power trenching system

March 26, 2019

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd. are pleased to announce completion of the first QTrencher 500 compact, high power trenching system developed for submarine cable installation and maintenance specialists, SubCom.

The new QTrencher 500 system provides additional 100HP versus its QT400 predecessor, without a weight penalty for a powerful, cost effective solution. The system combines proven SMD cable maintenance tools in an ultra-compact and lightweight arrangement, to deliver ultimate power within a small footprint. The high voltage transmission provides maximum thrust and jetting performance enabling trenching capability to a depth of up to 3.0m with multiple passes dependent on the ground conditions.

Paul Davison, Managing Director of SMD’s Equipment business comments “This system is a new product developed specifically for the submarine telecoms market, and marks a welcome sign of innovation and new product development in the sector. It’s 500HP in a compact footprint and 12TE weight limit make it the best in its class. The system also benefits from jet tooling and a new suite of sensors making it digital ready for future asset management. It’s developments like this that have made SMD equipment responsible for the burial and protection of over 80% of the world’s subsea telecoms cables.”

The vehicle is equipped with SMD’s latest surface control and power cabin layout and 12.5Te Wide Angle A-Frame operational in sea state 5, an umbilical winch with steel armoured umbilical for operation in 2500mwd.

John Dahlgren, Director of submersible systems at SubCom said “SubCom’s goal was to procure a vehicle system which would exceed client expectations for reliability, performance and cable protection. The result was a trencher, which incorporates SubCom’s vast telecom cable installation experience and drive for innovation with SMD’s proven engineering and manufacturing expertise. SubCom is confident this new vehicle will lead the telecom industry in burial power and capability inside a manageable and cost effective footprint, while also incorporating the latest advancements in subsea technology. We are thrilled to be adding the system to our fleet.”

For more information on our range of Trenching ROVs visit:

General Trenching Deck Equipment

SMD Shanghai Complete Manufacture of Quantum MkIII WROV

January 29, 2019

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) are pleased to announce that SMD Shanghai, SMD’s Chinese entity, have successfully completed the manufacture and commissioning of a Quantum MkIII work class remotely operated vehicle (WROV) at their facility in Lingang, Shanghai. This is the first WROV to be built at their facility since its opening in 2018.

SMD Shanghai’s facility is home to a 3700m2 workshop which contains an in-house training facility featuring a state-of-the-art ROV training simulator and 405m3 test tank. Having this capability in-house means that SMD Shanghai are able offer their customers a full solution from sales support to training and aftercare.

Andrew Starforth, Managing Director, SMD Shanghai comments, “I am thrilled that we have completed the manufacture of our first WROV system. This is a huge milestone for us to achieve and we have done so with a new team of engineers and technicians. I am looking forward to continuing our success here in Shanghai.”

The Quantum WROV is the largest and most heavy duty WROV in SMDs range, it offers an ideal solution for offshore tasks where high thruster performance and tooling power are required. Generous chassis space means that the system is versatile to allowing for upgrades and additional equipment to suit the customers’ requirements.

For more information on our range of Work Class ROVs visit:

General ROVS

SMD Sign Contract to Supply Atom Mk1 ROV System to China Southern Power Grid

April 12, 2018

World leading subsea equipment design and manufacturer Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) are pleased to announce the signature of a contract to supply its Atom Mk1 1000m 100hp Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) system to Chinese power specialist China Southern Power Extra High Voltage Power Transmission Company (EHV, CSG), a subsidiary of the state-owned China Southern Power Grid (CSG).

The ROV will be used for inspection of the 31km physical power cable connections in the Qiongzhou Strait between Hainan Island and mainland China. The Qiongzhou strait often experiences high currents so it was essential that CSG chose a compact and powerful ROV to cope with the harsh conditions.

The Atom system is SMD’s lightest work class ROV suitable for offshore power applications, survey and light construction duties, and can be mobilised on vessels with limited deck space. For this contract, SMD will integrate a TSS350 cable tracking system and other survey tools to perform cable inspection.

Mark Collins, SMD business development director, said: “Our Atom system has a proven track record working in challenging operational environments, varying from shallow waters and high currents to scorching temperatures, all of which can cause significant problems for standard work class ROVs. For this order, Atom will showcase its ability to operate in high currents and will call upon its market-leading dynamic positioning system to ensure survey data is of the highest quality.”

Scheduled for delivery at the end of 2018, the ROV will be equipped with SMD’s proven and reliable range of Curvetech® components, DVECSII control system and 20ft control cabin which will be mobilised on board CSG’s new cable installation vessel. As part of the contract, SMD Services is also providing bespoke training courses to ensure CSG’s operational team are prepared with the necessary operating skills.

SMD Services will utilise CRRC SMD Shanghai’s facilities to support mobilisation of the ROV on board CSG’s new vessel. They will also lead on the sea trials ensuring the ROV operates at maximum capacity with support from the SMD Services offshore team, who will be on hand to provide assistance for any on deck ROV support.


SMD Curvetech™ thrusters to power French subsea trencher

April 6, 2018

Curvetech™ engineers at Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) have completed the build and test of a range of  hydraulic thrusters for French subsea cable installation engineering firm Louis Dreyfus TravOcean.

SMD’s Curvetech™ HTE_500BA and HTE_430-63 thrusters are destined for use on a large subsea trenching vehicle designed and built by the Marseille-based company.

Paul Davison, Managing Director Subsea said: “It’s always great to expand our client base for the Curvetech™ product range. Curvetech™ products are well known in the industry for their high-quality and it’s great to be able to support third party Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Last year we put a strong emphasis on client support for the Curvetech™ range. This included updating our website with the latest product range and the addition of downloadable CAD models and manuals so designers can easily access the product range.”

In a cost-conscious market, SMD has seen an increase in demand from self-builders and third party OEMs using their Curvetech™ components in the design and build of their own subsea engineering vehicles and equipment.

Covering a range of applications, SMD’s Curvetech™ product range includes subsea vehicle propulsion systems, subsea motors and hydraulic power units, hydraulic valve control, compensators, control systems and surface high voltage power units, subsea sensors and electrical control cards, subsea tooling and Work Class ROV skid units.


SMD Engineers performance testing the Curvetech® HTE_430 thruster in our tank

March 3, 2017

Watch the video to see our Curvetech® Thrusters in action.


SMD wins contract for supply of Quasar MKII System

November 3, 2016

September 2016: Shanghai Salvage Company (also known as China Offshore Engineering Shanghai, Co), a state owned entity who have a long history in diving and salvage have signed an order with SMD for a Quasar MKII 6000m remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2017, the system will include a full suite of equipment suitable for both deep sea salvage and oil and gas operations.

“We are delighted that Shanghai Salvage have chosen SMD as their ROV equipment supplier,” said Mark Collins, Managing Director of SMD ROV Systems. “This system includes some new innovations in ROV modularity that will enable the client to operate across a wider range of markets, maximising revenue potential from their SMD asset. We believe that modular systems, which can be quickly optimised for a particular operation, will become important as clients continue to seek reductions in their operating costs. SMD’s ability to offer innovative products coupled with a strong global service network will support Shanghai Salvage as they expand.”

The ROV is a deep water version of SMD’s standard Quasar which has an extensive track record across various industry sectors. It will be one of the most powerful and capable systems to operate down to 6000m.

Deck equipment for the project, which will be designed and manufactured by SMD, includes a dual use 3000m/6000m winch and two cursor launch and recovery systems, one of which will be hanger mounted, the other mobile. The umbilical winches will be electrically driven with an axial fleeting configuration and active heave compensation, and provide the ability for interchangeable drums to accommodate steel wire armoured and aramid umbilical.

SMD’s deck equipment capability has been developed and refined over decades of experience. Leading the deck equipment business, Paul Hatchett explains “SMD has a long track record of designing and building more than four hundred systems with highly capable deck equipment for a broad range of subsea vehicle and cable handling applications. By holding this experience and capability within a dedicated unit in SMD we offer operators such as Shanghai Salvage a reliable and bespoke solution, which is seamlessly integrated with the subsea vehicle system.”

General ROVS

ROV Training Extended To Freelance Techs

November 3, 2016

September 2015: Over the last year we have developed a new training course aimed directly at experienced freelance ROV technicians who want to broaden their portfolio of work class ROV skills. The course provides delegates with in-depth knowledge which can be applied to over 150 SMD ROV systems which are in the field.

Traditionally, SMD training has been aimed at corporate customers, who typically send staff to gain a better insight into their newly purchased vehicle. With requests from freelance personnel for training on SMD systems indicating a demand in the market for freelance personnel with the correct skillset we have decided to extend our world class offering beyond this market.

While this course provides an opportunity for freelance ROV pilots to gain expert training direct from the OEM, it will also allow SMD customers to identify potential freelance contractors with the relevant skills and experience required to operate their SMD ROV systems.

The new seven-day course has been carefully developed to provide training on the key elements comprising an SMD WROV system. This includes the operation and maintenance of control and electrical systems, and high voltage and hydraulics circuits across all SMD ROV systems.

Greg Brown is the Head of Training at SMD “We are hearing from the market that in these challenging times, opportunities will arise for technicians with the right skillset.  Investing in training now will give two benefits: it will be a positive addition to their CV and put them in a strong position when market demand for technicians picks up.”

The first course was completed last week, with attendees travelling from as far as Australia looking to develop and broaden their skillset. The typical attendee for this course has worked in the offshore business on other ROV systems but has little or limited knowledge of SMD ROV systems.

Feedback from the first course was very positive with all delegates agreeing that they would recommend the course to others. Freelance ROV Supervisor Steve Bostock described the course as “…a valuable course delivered well by a knowledgeable instructor.”, while freelance ROV engineer Daniel Rainbow said “…a lot of what I have learned will help me offshore, minimising down-time.”

Two more seven day courses are already scheduled to start on 19th October 2015 and 30th November 2015 at SMD’s dedicated training facility in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne.

For those interested, information can be found by visiting the LinkedIn group SMD Freelance Technical Training, at or by emailing


SMD Supply Quantum MkIII Work Class ROVs to China’s COOEC

November 2, 2016

July 2015: SMD are pleased to announce the delivery of three Quantum Work Class ROV (WROV) systems to China’s largest offshore engineering construction company, COOEC Subsea Technology Co Ltd.

SMD were awarded contracts to supply COOEC with three Quantum MkIII 3000m rated WROV systems in the first quarter of 2015. The orders include one 12Te and two 15Te launch and recovery systems, SMD DVECS-S control systems for each vehicle and a comprehensive spares and support package.

In addition to supporting COOEC during system mobilisation, the contract includes a comprehensive SMD customer training package for COOEC personnel, with the option for training to take place at SMD’s industry leading training suite in North East England, or at the customers’ preferred location.

John McCann, SMD Regional Manager Asia Pacific said “We are delighted that, following a competitive open market tender, COOEC have again selected SMD as their partner of choice going forward”.

The Quantum WROV is the ultra-heavy duty construction class vehicle in SMD’s WROV range. Utilising the latest multi-platform Curvetech™ components, SMD Quantum users report formidable performance and reliability, with the machines capable of supporting the most demanding of subsea operations.

DVECS-S control includes an advanced dynamic positioning system, allowing hands free hovering and navigation and thus enabling the pilot to concentrate on the job in hand. The user friendly system allows the pilot to simply point-and-click on the map screen to move the ROV. Through communication with commonly fitted ROV instruments DVECS-S can accurately control the position of the ROV throughout the water column – even in high currents.

SMD first supplied COOEC with WROVs over ten years ago. COOEC now have a total of nine SMD WROVs in their fleet following delivery of the three new Quantum systems.


ROV Systems Accredited to Latest DNV Standards

November 2, 2016

May 2015: We are pleased to announce that SMD ROV systems are now accredited to the latest DNV standards.  Conforming components include Control Cabins, ROVs, Tether Management Systems (TMS) and Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS).

ROV control cabins are available fully certified to Offshore Service Modules DNV 2.7-2, so clients have extra peace of mind from greater safety features relating to fire and smoke protection.  Cabling and wiring is now low smoke, low halogen and a revised cabin lining offers better protection for occupants from fire and heat.  The high voltage transformers within the cabin – always used with Work Class ROVs – are now fully type tested to DNV-OSD-201 for short circuit, full load, temperature and overload, offering increased safety and reliability for clients.

SMD ROVs including Quantum Heavy Work Class, Quasar Medium Work Class and Atom Compact Work Class can now be offered to DNV 2.7-3.  This means the units are fully certified to the highest standards for vessel-to-land, vessel-to-vessel and vessel-to-sea transfer.  SMD Tether Management Systems often used in conjunction with the ROVs can also be supplied conforming to the same standard.

SMD Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) conforming to DNV 2.22 are now available.  SMD’s first, a fully certified 12te Telescopic A-frame and 12te 3500m umbilical winch, is undergoing final build and test.  Updates relate to improved equipment safety such as up-rated braking components on the winch and an increase in operating temperature range (-20C to +45C).  Other Launch and Recovery systems in the range will be available certified to the same standard in the near future.

General Deck Equipment ROVS