QTrencher 1600 and 48Te A-Frame Delivered to Van Oord Commences First Job

August 8, 2018

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) are pleased to announce that the QTrencher 1600 and its associated deck equipment package delivered in April 2018 to Van Oord, has commenced its first job at Borkum-2 wind farm.

Van Oord’s deck equipment for the QT1600, Dig-It, included a 48Te launch and recovery system (LARS) with A-Frame, cursor docking head, umbilical winch with snatch limiter and hydraulic power unit ensuring safe and reliable deployment of the QTrencher 1600 in higher sea states.

Paul Hatchett, Managing Director SMD Deck Equipment comments, “SMD have been delivering safe and reliable launch and recovery and cable handling equipment for over 35 years, and we have used our expertise to deliver a Lloyds Register approved system to our new customer, Van Oord. We have designed this LARS to offer flexibility and ease of maintenance to our customer. The compact design means that Van Oord are not restricted on the layout of their vessel, with the system being compact enough for operation across the beam and over the stern. Together with SMD’s QTrencher 1600 Van Oord will be able to increase their operational window, working in conditions up to sea state 6.”

The deck equipment comes equipped with a state-of-the-art cursor launch system which allows high sea state deployment using the lift winch. SMD’s cursor launch system protects the vehicle’s umbilical and ensures operational loads are within safety factors at all times, even when the air weight of the vehicle exceeds the safe working load of the umbilical.

Furthermore, the integration of the snatch limiting device means the system is able to handle transitions through the splash zone, from heavy-in-air to light-in-water without transferring shock loads to the umbilical. This function prevents the umbilical from becoming overloaded, and also handles slack umbilical to prevent damage during vehicle recovery which can be caused by vessel motion in high sea states.

The QT1600, Dig-It, has commenced cable installation work which should be finished in July 2018. Once completed in 2019, the Borkum-2 offshore wind farm will deliver green energy to an equivalent of 460,000 households. The offshore wind farm is located 54 kilometres off the coast of Lower Saxony, Germany.

General Deck Equipment Trenching

SMD's Multi-Mode Pre Lay Plough Completes First Job for Assodivers Ltd

June 21, 2018

World leading subsea equipment designer and manufacturer Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) are pleased to announce that their Multi-Mode Pre Lay Plough, delivered to Greek offshore contractors Assodivers Ltd in Spring this year, has successfully completed its first offshore job in the Baltic sea.

The Multi-Mode Pre Lay Plough is the newest addition to SMD’s power cable installation and protection product range. This plough has configurations for boulder clearing, trenching and backfill. The boulder clearance pass clears a 13.0m wide route including surface and submerged boulders. The trenching pass creates an engineered ‘Y’ trench profile with a secure power cable pocket for subsequent lay process. The backfill pass moves the cut spoil excluding boulders back over the product for maximum cover. All three modes have responsive and controlled steering and a fully integrated sensor suite for as built survey of performance.

Managing Director for SMD’s Subsea Business, Paul Davison comments, “I am thrilled that we have been able to deliver the plough with all three configurations. Having multiple configurations available means this one plough can be set up to carry out a campaign of route clearance and power cable installation and cover processes making it economical in both cost and time, minimising lay risk and maximising lay speed. Assodivers are the first client who have this capability in a single vehicle. We have a longstanding relationship with Assodivers, they have two of our Atom Work Class ROV systems already in their fleet and we are pleased that they trust us and our equipment.”

The equipment was mobilised on board Assodivers’ DP-2 Construction Support Vessel, the Aethra, directly from SMD’s quayside access point.

Technical Manager from Assodivers, Aggelos Tziotakis comments, “We are excited with the opportunities that have arisen from the use of a unique tool such as the multi-mode pre-lay plough; The vehicle has already performed its maiden work in the offshore fields of the Baltic with very successful results.”

Offering a full turnkey solution, SMD delivered a 20ft Control Cabin and a 60Te stabilising frame operational in up to sea state 5 via their dedicated Deck Equipment business. The team were able to integrate the 60Te stabilising frame with Assodivers’ existing A-Frame.

The scissor type stabilising frame used in conjunction with the A-Frame is designed to maintain plough orientation and reduce side to side movement during launch and recovery; fore and aft motion is restricted by the tow wire.

Deck Equipment Trenching

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.

ROVS

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.

Curvetech®

A Dynamic Underwater Mining Solution

November 3, 2016

March 2016: Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) and Underwater Mining Solutions (UMS) are teaming up to offer customers the full scope of mining equipment required for underwater mining projects, both offshore and inland, and in all territories.

Their combined expertise, and the strength of each of their parent companies, enable SMD and UMS to provide customers with proven, de-risked solutions to deep-sea, near-shore and inland underwater exploration, mining and processing.

SMD have over forty years of experience in subsea engineering and remote intervention, having delivered over 400 subsea systems to date.  The company, who have unrivalled experience in the marinisation of earth moving equipment for use in deep water, have recently delivered the world’s first three commercial deep-sea mining vehicles for Nautilus Minerals.

UMS have delivered commercial shallow water mining solutions and have capability to provide a complete system including mining vehicles and corresponding launch & recovery systems, vessel conversion, ore processing, transportation, separation and ancillary ore handling equipment.

SMD and UMS’ complementary product portfolio, means customers can spread risk across the supply chain, and benefit from integration of this complementary equipment and services from an early stage and throughout the life cycle of the mining projects.

Robert Denovan, UMS: “The minerals industry is currently in a ‘belt-tightening’ period. We are now in the perfect position to offer larger mining houses the solutions they need to help them get through this period, and to help them emerge into the next growth phase with a competitive edge.”

Toby Lambooy, UMS: “We can now offer our inland customers exactly what they want and need – a safely delivered mining and mineral processing solution at a price below that of conventional mining techniques, with a much smaller environmental footprint.”

Stef Kapusniak, SMD: “We’re delighted to be able to offer the emerging underwater mining market, both inland and offshore, an unrivalled capability from a group that provides the experience and ability to deliver market-leading solutions.”

SMD are also the Technical Manager on the Vamos Project which is a consortium funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The Vamos project team are developing a submerged mining solution to exploit existing inland mines which are no longer economically viable by conventional mining methods.  The programme will develop processes and technology, such as mining navigation, sensing and awareness systems, to be exploited in this new and emerging market.

General

VAMOS Project Progresses

November 2, 2016

August 2015: SMD have now completed their first deliverable for the VAMOS (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System) project, finalizing the system architecture on schedule. The consortium made up of 17 project partners, is now progressing to deliver a number of spec documents as well as a project manual.

VAMOS is a 42-month Research & Development Project, which was launched in March this year as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. At an estimated cost of approximately 12.6 milllion Euros, the project will help to provide an opportunity to tap into the wealth of unexploited European mineral resources.

The VAMOS Project team are working towards the design and build of a robotic, underwater mining prototype and associated launch and recovery equipment, which will be used to perform field tests at four EU minesites. Three of these are inland inactive submerged mineral deposits and the other is offshore.  The prototype will build on successful deep-sea excavation techniques provide a safer and cleaner option for extracting currently unreachable and/or uneconomic mineral deposits.

SMD are acting as Technical Manager and Work-Package Leader for design/build and site testing, with manufacture of the prototype to take place at SMD’s production site in Wallsend, North East England.

The consortium, with members from nine EU countries, is working under the coordination of BMT Group Ltd. and includes Damen Shipyards Group; Instituto de Engenharia Sistemas e Computadores; Fugro EMU Limited; Zentrum für Telematik e.V.; Montanuniversität Leoben; Minerália, Lda; Marine Minerals Ltd; Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro SA; Sandvik Mining and Construction G.m.b.H; Geological survey of Slovenia; La Palma Research Centre for Future Studies; European Federation of Geologists; Trelleborg Ede Bv; Federalni zavod za Geologijo and Fondacija za obnovu I razvoj regije Vareš.

VAMOS will also look to enhance currently available underwater sensing, spatial awareness, navigational and positioning technology, as well as providing an intergrated solution for efficient real-time monitoring of the parameters associated with potential environmental impacts.

General