SMD Develop Fast ROV Capability

April 23, 2018

As price pressures continue in the ROV industry, the need for operators to reduce operational costs through the adoption of new technologies is increasingly apparent.

For areas such as seabed mapping and pipeline inspection, where traditional work class ROV systems remain the preferred choice, SMD has recognised the limitations of the current technology available and developed FLO, a new high-speed Survey and Inspection ROV system, capable of delivering higher quality survey data and significant time savings in offshore operations.

Traditionally, standard work class ROVs have speed limitations due to their size, weight and hydrodynamics. They can also be unsteady operating at higher speeds.

SMD engineered FLO, a high-speed variant based on proven SMD ROV fleet technology, to perform tasks faster and more efficiently. The new system has a top speed of 6 Knots and the ability to hold position in currents up to 4 Knots from any direction. FLO also boasts 50% faster survey times compared to conventional work class ROVs and is capable of significantly extending the operational window in areas where high currents are prevalent, especially within the renewables sector.

From concept to manufacture, the new high-speed ROV by SMD, has been designed around the latest sensor payloads it would be tasked to carry in order to perform offshore, whilst also providing the most stable and acoustically quiet platform possible to gather quality survey data.

In order to provide this level of performance, FLO uses SMD’s advanced ROV drivetrain technology in a low profile hydrodynamic package less than half the height and half the weight of a typical Work Class ROV. Coupled with eight open water vectored thrusters and SMD’s advanced ROV control automation, FLO is able to accurately navigate and remain stable at high speeds while close to the seabed.

FLO can also be operated in free swimming mode for shallow water and uses a tether management system (TMS) in deeper water. Although travelling at high speed creates drag on the ROV umbilical, in water depths of 500m in free swimming mode, FLO has the power to achieve speeds greater than 4 Knots.

To ensure optimised deployment and retrieval of FLO in difficult conditions. SMD has drawn upon its’ 45 years of Deck Equipment design to offer purpose designed LARS system which incorporates innovative functions including the auto cable render and a gimballing docking head.

ROVS

SMD Design and Build Innovative 6000m Electric Winch and LARS for Shanghai Salvage

September 7, 2017

Dedicated deck equipment engineers at Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) have successfully completed work on an electric drive dual-purpose winch and Launch and Recovery System (LARS) to accompany an order from Shanghai Salvage for a Quasar Work Class ROV. The equipment will be used for salvage operations in deep waters around the world, with an assured maximum working depth up to 6000m.

The dual-purpose electric drive winch will be provided with two interchangeable drums: one 6000m lightweight umbilical cable and one 3000m cable with TMS, capable of carrying heavier loads. The drums can be swapped on the vessel to suit varying operational requirements, preventing the need to return to shore and therefore saving on costs and time. The winch system is designed and certified to the latest DNV-ST-E273 standard, including the electric drive suite which allows the system to be quickly mobilised onto a vessel of opportunity as one unit via a single point lift.

By making use of electric motors powered via a Low Harmonic Variable Speed Drive application, rather than hydraulics, SMD can offer an environmentally-friendly energy-efficient launch system. The turnkey design can be fully integrated with the vessel’s electronics, meaning energy from the winch can be regenerated and used for other applications on the vessel.

The winch can operate using AC induction or advanced synchronous reluctance motors – with SynRM motor technology to maximise compensation accuracy and minimise response time. This increases the operational window and the ability to safely launch and recover in high sea states.

Paul Hatchett, Managing Director of Deck Equipment at SMD, commented, “We are delighted to offer a clean, energy-efficient solution for deep water salvage systems. Thanks to improvements in technology, electric winches are becoming an increasingly viable option. The LARS we have developed for Shanghai Salvage has been tailored to work at varying depths and in challenging conditions, and at the same time remain robust and lightweight.”

SMD have developed the electric winch based on an active heave compensation system using motion reference unit (MRU) feedback, allowing the cable to remain under controlled tension during use, thus enabling safe and smooth deployment.

To accompany the Launch and Recovery System, SMD will be providing a PLC control system, opening up new control and monitoring possibilities. As well as auto-depth capability and power loss protection, the system is capable of condition monitoring, remote diagnostics and data logging via cloud based access.

Engineered to operate at a wide range of temperatures from -20 to 45°C, the winch drive and motor package system is air cooled, meaning there is no need for liquid cooling. The system comes with increased breaking capacity and the winch structure is fully DNV-ST-0378 approved.

Deck Equipment