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    ROV-based cable survey system set to reduce costs

    Vessel & ROV News // January 27, 2011

    A Falcon ROV fitted with Smartrak.

    An inshore cable survey system that senses the presence of cables, and uses a smaller ROV than usual, is set to significantly cut the cost of survey work in the burgeoning marine energy industry. Costs can be cut from £500,000 for a conventional system to just £150,000 using new solution, it is claimed.

    Submagnetix, a division of Innovatum, has integrated their system with the compact Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV to create a small and rapidly mobilised package that can be deployed from a small vessel, ready to survey all types of inshore and coastal submarine cables and pipelines.

    Called SMARTRAK 9, it is claimed to be the only system in the world that can sense cables carrying either AC or DC current; and cables carrying no current or signal at all. It can also sense steel pipelines.

    The Seaeye Falcon ROV is fitted out with a Tritech Super SeaKing profiler system to provide high quality cross-sectional profile data of the seabed; to give underwater ROV positioning a Tritech Micron-Nav USBL navigation transducer along with pitch and roll sensing; an accurate flux gate compass; a high accuracy altimeter and a pressure sensor for depth.

    For survey work, the Seaeye Falcon has the advantage of a low electrical and acoustic noise signature allowing for optimum survey sensor data. It also has the power and manoeuvrability to give unrivalled stability in strong cross currents.

    The system creates comprehensive reports and charts showing accurate cable route and depth of burial along the route.

    The cable and pipeline tracking system uses three different methods to acquire target data.

    A passive magnetic mode is employed for pipeline survey work, using the natural field of steel pipes, and for cable survey, either by the weak natural fields of the cable or the stronger fields developed by specially magnetising the cable armour or strength member prior to cable lay.

    Active DC Mode is used for tracking live HVDC cables, and trans-oceanic telecommunication cables.

    Active AC mode is primarily used for locating, tracking and surveying cables.

     

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