Issues Archive

May/June 2012 Vol. 16
No. 3
 Packed rooms, good levels  
  of discussion and some  
  great questions were the  
  order of the day at  
  International’s seven  
  day-long conferences 
 With more than 525  
  exhibitors at the show,  
  there was plenty to  
  interest the record  
  number of Oceanology  
 Gavin Willoughby of AAE  
  (right) hands a cut-glass  
  award to Seascape BV  
  sales engineer Gert-Jan  
  de Rooij 
 Kongsberg Maritime’s  
  substantial stand 
 Handing over the very  
  first icListen-HF  
 Sonardyne 6G equipment on  
  show at Oceanology 
 Slocum glider  
Oceanology International 2012 Review: Record  

Attendance and exhibitor numbers up at this year’s Oceanology International

Oceanology International 2012, held this March at London’s ExCeL, proved the most successful ever in more than 40 years, in terms of attendance and the number of exhibiting companies, according to the show’s organiser. With 7728 attendees from more than 70 countries and over 525 exhibitors from 33 countries, the biennial show broke all previous records, reported Reed Exhibitions.

“We are delighted to have produced such a successful outcome for this year’s event,” said Reed’s exhibition manager, James Coleman.

Seven day-long conferences were featured at the show. Three were on the all-important key industry sectors for which engaging with marine science and ocean technology is vital – oil and gas (with the attention this year on the Arctic and deepwater exploration), the rapidly expanding marine renewables sector and maritime security.

The four other streams addressed the key technology areas of navigation and positioning, unmanned underwater vehicles, hydrography and geophysics and ocean observation and forecasting.

“Packed rooms, good levels of discussion and some great questions were very much the order of the day across the board,” said Coleman.

A host of new services and products were launched on the exhibition floor. “Many companies use Oceanology International for this purpose,” pointed out Coleman.

The next Oceanology International, to be held once again at ExCeL, will take place from 11-13 March 2014.

TSS launches SDC-10

Teledyne TSS, UK, launched the SDC-10 surface display computer. The system is being offered as a new surface interface unit for the TSS 440, 350 and Dualtrack pipe and cable trackers.

“These are the world’s most widely used detection systems of their kind and the new computer is being introduced to their users as a direct replacement for the SDC-9 and to make a new range of benefits available that will extend its versatility and user friendliness,” said TSS.

The company added: “The new PC is significantly lighter than the previous version and it features a 19-inch touch screen display that can provide video overlay and current-loop communications. It is housed in a standalone optional VESA-mounted enclosure and features the latest in computer technology including a fan-less Intel Atom 16GHz CPU.”

Landmark USBL sale

Applied Acoustic Engineering (AAE), UK, celebrated the sale of its 150th USBL tracking system at Oceanology. Sales manager Gavin Willoughby handed over the award to Gert-Jan de Rooij, sales engineer at Seascape BV, the Netherlands, at a small ceremony on AAE’s stand.

At the presentation Willoughby commented that Easytrak had become a generic term for subsea tracking in a very short time and that he was delighted to mark this significant sale. He noted that even though this particular order was from a European country, Easytrak systems had been shipped from the Great Yarmouth factory to every corner of the world to many different clients operating in the subsea environment, reinforcing its true versatility.

New Tern buoy unveiled

Reporting the launch of its new 1.2-metre Tern buoy, UK-based OSIL said the platform had been greeted with enthusiastic interest from visitors to the exhibition.

The new buoy is designed for extended deployment in harsh coastal environments in deeper water depths, and is suitable for all applications, including scientific studies, water quality monitoring, coastal engineering projects, harbour and coastal monitoring, and maritime traffic control, according to OSIL.

“The system is extremely robust, with all instrumentation and cables held internally, protected by the rugged enclosed top section, which has been designed to minimise damage from the elements or interference,” said OSIL. “All sensors are secured within a central structure which offers good water flow for water quality sensors, while also providing a very high degree of protection for valuable, sensitive, or delicate equipment. The platform also offers a higher visibility profile, easily seen in high-traffic areas.”

The versatile 1.2-metre platform has approximately 400-kilogram net buoyancy, and is supplied with a range of sensors that can be specified by the customer. All buoys are fitted with solar panels, battery back up, navigation/warning lights and other markings as necessary. A range of telemetry options are available, selected to suit both the location and application requirements.

Environmental focus for Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime, Norway, had a substantial stand at Oceanology, focusing on the core product areas of underwater sensors, positioning and remote and autonomous vehicles. The subsea technology company also presented how these systems will form the foundation of a sophisticated new Integrated Environmental Monitoring System it is developing for Statoil, Norway, with partners IBM, USA, DNV, Norway, and Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies, Norway.

The purpose of this project is to demonstrate solutions for continuous environmental monitoring of operations in sensitive areas covering all phases of an offshore operation, i.e. from preparation and drilling to production and demobilisation. A major benefit will be to include the environmental monitoring into daily operation for early detection and reaction to potential environmental impact.

Real-time data from subsea sensors is key to the project’s success. Currently environmental monitoring systems use off-line sensor hubs logging environmental data. These can be deployed for years at a time and have to be physically taken up to the surface for the data to be read and analysed. Data from the Integrated Environmental Monitoring System however, will be available in real-time. Kongsberg Maritime’s cNODE-based communication infrastructure will feature strongly in the project as it opens up the deployment of a wireless subsea sensor network for monitoring in areas without existing infrastructure. By focusing on the wireless aspects, mobile sensor nodes will also be able to operate within the network (AUV and ROV).

Visitors to Kongsberg Maritime’s stand were able to talk to members of the project team to find out more about the specific Kongsberg hydroacoustic, camera, communication and positioning systems that make it possible.

First hydrophone delivered

UK-based Planet Ocean and its Canadian principal, the newly launched Ocean Sonics Ltd, delivered the very first icListen-HF high frequency smart hydrophone to Dr Merin Broudic of Swansea University, UK, at a small ceremony on Planet Ocean’s stand. The hand over was made by Terry Sloane, managing director of Planet Ocean, and Mark Wood, president of Ocean Sonics, following the world launch of the new instrument at the show on the same day.

The icListen-HF follows on from the icListen-LF low frequency smart hydrophone and extends the measurement range to 20KHz. The low-power system makes very high-resolution measurements of sounds in the ocean and processes the data internally into calibrated data files that can be stored on the hydrophone’s internal memory, or output as WAV audio files, or pre-processed FFT files which can be used straight away without further processing. The new HF range device covers the frequencies associated with toothed cetaceans such as dolphins and small whales, as well as the lower frequency anthropogenic sounds in the oceans.

Dr Broudic is working at the Low Carbon Research Institute, UK, with underwater noise associated with tidal stream turbines.

New sidescan launched

Guernsey-based Marine Electronics Ltd (MEL) used Oceanology to launch its new WideView 3D sidescan sonar, which employs the latest interferometric acoustic technology to provide high-resolution images over a 120-degree field of view. The company said the new sonar is a particularly valuable tool for shallow-water surveys where its wide field of view can save time and operating costs by reducing the number of passes needed to scan a specific area.

“The new sonar can be supplied as a complete system integrated into a tow fish that can include additional options of a forward-looking sonar, downward-looking altimeter, pressure sensor and emergency relocation beacon,” said MEL. “It can also be supplied mounted on a V-plate for side pole deployment or aboard a client’s own vehicle or towed body.”

The company added that because WideView is a survey tool aimed at the shallow-water market, it can be supplied to operate at one of two frequencies – the 250kHz version will range up to 200 metres whereas the 500kHz version will range up to 100 metres.

6G purchase

Subsea equipment rental company Ashtead Technology, UK, announced the purchase of US$1.4 million (GB£874,000) of Sonardyne, UK, 6G subsea acoustic positioning equipment. The announcement was made on the opening day of the show.

The new equipment will be added to Ashtead Technology’s worldwide rental fleet and includes Compatt 6 transponders equipped with sound velocity, digiquartz and inclinometer sensors, ROVNav6 LBL transceivers, GyroCompatt6s and acoustic release transponders.

Speaking at the show, Mark Derry, managing director of Ashtead Technology, said: “This purchase reflects the growing customer demand for 6G equipment and supplements our fleet of MK5 LBL equipment and our recent purchase of 6G USBL systems which have proven to be very popular.”

Hemisphere release

Hemisphere GPS, Canada, introduced the new Vector H320 OEM module at Oceanology. The system, which features a number of new technologies wrapped up into a single high-performance module for the most demanding of applications, is based on new Hemisphere GPS multi-function application firmware and Eclipse GNSS multi constellation technology.

“The Vector H320 tracks commercially available GNSS signals to compute the highest level of precise positioning and robust heading data,” explained a company spokesman. “Using Hemisphere GPS’ patented SureTrack RTK technology, Vector H320 is ideally suited to augment hydrographic, bathymetric and sidescan survey packages as well as other machine control applications where centimetre-level precise positioning and heading are required for superior data representation.”

The spokesman added: “Vector H320 utilises differential corrections from RTK, SBAS or satellite-based L-band (OmniSTAR) sources where available. The smart intelligence from the multi-function application firmware always provides differential solutions by automatically switching to the next best differential source if the original higher accuracy source is no longer available, providing graceful degradation in accuracies.”

According to the spokesman, Vector H320 was designed for OEM system integrators who demand the highest levels of heading, position, heave, pitch and roll accuracies. “With market leading accuracy and affordability, they can develop integrated high-precision and control applications in professional and commercial marine, machine control and unmanned vehicle applications,” he said.

Vector H320 computes heading information with better than 0.01-degree accuracy (based on 10m antenna separation), and better than 10mm RTK position accuracy or 40mm L-band position accuracy. It also provides 5cm RTK heave and 0.01-degree pitch and roll accuracies.

Glider ADCP testing

Teledyne RD Instruments (Teledyne RDI), USA, announced that engineering and field work is underway to test the full integration of Teledyne RDI’s acoustic Doppler current profiler into the Teledyne Webb Research, USA, Slocum glider.

In 2011 Teledyne Webb Research was selected by The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, USA, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), USA, to provide their coastal G2 Slocum gliders for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The gliders will support the Pioneer and the Endurance Arrays of the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) of the OOI. The Ocean Observatories Initiative is a multi-scale observatory that will utilise a network of sensor systems to collect physical, chemical, geological and biological data from the ocean and the seafloor on coastal, regional and global scales.

Teledyne Webb Research’s Slocum G2 gliders are designed for long deployment endurance with the ability to manoeuvre and operate where the total water depth is less than 30 metres and up to 1000 metres along deeper coastlines. The vehicle construction facilitates swappable payload bays for a multitude of integrated sensor suites. Included in the sensor package is Teledyne RDI’s ADCP, which was specified to provide the programme with current profiling data.

“This contract, and the resulting engineering effort, will provide for a fully integrated ADCP with bottom tracking capability that will be used to collect high-resolution current profiling data from a glider platform,” said Teledyne RDI. “The intention is to take full advantage of the profiling capability of the glider itself to extend the current measurement range of the ADCP.

“Removing the platform motion is of critical importance to the success of the application and early testing in shallow water has shown that an initial implementation of the techniques developed by the lowered ADCP community is yielding good results.

“Testing of the prototype Slocum G2 glider is currently underway, with the delivery of up to 24 units in support of this programme.”

Double-hulled Sabertooth takes a bow

A number of underwater vehicles were featured at the Saab Seaeye, UK, stand, including the new double-hulled Sabertooth AUV/ROV.

The new double-hulled version of the Sabertooth offers twice the operational duration of the single-hulled Sabertooth launched last year, said Saab Seaeye.

“The unique Sabertooth concept combines the technologies of both AUV and ROV into a single unified resource,” the company said. “The result is a vehicle with the range and manoeuvrability of an AUV and the tooling capability of a light-work ROV.”Three operational modes are possible: autonomous roaming; attached fibre optic cable; and umbilical for power and communications.

With a typical duration of more than 14 hours and depth rated option to 3000 metres, it can embark on either long range programmable missions or under operator control around set targets, with obstacle avoidance and precise manoeuvrability, including working down deep tunnels or inside complex structures where its 360-degree manoeuvrability allows it to orientate into any position – even directly up or down.

And in places where access is seasonally restricted, it can remain underwater for a year at an isolated location ready to be deployed as needed. Tooling packs can be stored at its docking station; batteries can be re-charged, data and video downloaded and fresh instructions uploaded.
















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