Teledyne TSS customers can now benefit from a new facility that enables their TSS 440 pipe and cable trackers to be precisely calibrated for specific targets. Samples of pipe or cable provided by the customer can now be analysed in the new facility so that an error matrix can be created for the user's own TSS 440. This makes it possible for burial depths of a particular pipe or cable to be measured to an accuracy of five centimetres or five per cent of range so that compliance with installation contracts can be verified.
The first tests undertaken at the new facility were carried-out for DeepOcean, the subsea division of the Trico Marine Group. The company had supplied some samples of armoured three-core cable that is being installed on a wind-farm project in the German sector of the North Sea. By using the new Teledyne TSS facility it was possible to generate data that will enable DeepOcean's TSS 440 trackers to be precisely calibrated for performing as-laid surveys of the cables.
The new Teledyne TSS facility is conveniently located beside the company's factory in Watford, UK. It is believed to be unique in the world as it creates laboratory standard conditions in which tests may be conducted on samples up to 5-metres long and weighing up to 2-tonnes. This requirement was a major element in the company's choice of the new factory that it moved into late last year. Previous TSS test facilities have been set-up in more remote locations but testing a single sample can take up to a day and the new installation is more convenient for customers and for any back-up workshop or laboratory support that may be required.
The new installation is a seemingly simple facility that consists of a truck on rails that is used for carrying the sample of cable or pipe. Varying heights and positions of the TSS 440 are achieved through its deployment above the sample on a specially adapted fork-lift. Fifty square metres of land originally designated for car parking was re-assigned for the new facility but construction of the test area could not begin until it had been thoroughly examined for any buried metal that might affect sensor results. Everything needed for the facility was then manufactured in glass reinforced plastic by UK specialists The Grating Company Ltd. More used to producing intrinsically safe stairs and walkways for offshore and industrial applications, the company manufactured the truck, its track, the guard rails and the scanner extension frame for the fork-lift entirely from GRP.
The new facility now ensures the highest possible accuracy when analysing the characteristics of different targets. These can vary significantly according to their size, shape and composition so Teledyne TSS customers have invariably sought to obtain precise data on the response that each will generate with a TSS 440 pipe and cable tracker. This can have a significant commercial impact as an error in burial depth might result in a requirement for costly rock dumping to ensure compliance with contract specifications.
The Teledyne TSS 440 is typically mounted on a ROV and uses pulse induction technology in conjunction with an advanced algorithm to detect its target. Depending on the size and shape of the target, the 440 offers detection ranges 30 to 50 per cent greater than previous models. This superior range means that it can also deal with the potential errors that arise when a cable is in an open trench or passing through a rock berm. Because of this, the Teledyne TSS 440 is widely regarded as the leading system for pipe and cable tracking with more than 100 systems being sold since its launch in 2003. It is widely used by the oil and gas and the submarine cables industries to locate and survey pipelines and cables on or below the seabed at water depths of up to 3,000m (9,843 ft).