One of the great advantages of open frame ROVs is the ease with which they can be adapted to carry tools to perform useful work at depth. And if you plan to fit large tools it pays to have lots of reserve power to move the extra mass and maintain a stable platform in strong currents.
So, when Chris Bryant, the Managing Director of Subsea Vision suggested that we build a 5 function hydraulic manipulator skid for his two Seaeye Falcons, and the Romanian Navy asked for hydraulic cable cutter skids for their mine countermeasures Falcons, we were confident that the vehicle could be quickly adapted to cope with the task. What did surprise us was just how little the skids affected the handling and manoeuvrability of the Falcon in an offshore environment.
Subsea Vision reports that they have just successfully completed an environmental seabed inspection and sampling contract for ERT (Scotland) Ltd on behalf of BP that also involved collecting Modiolus (horse mussels) in the vicinity of the Sullom Voe oil terminal in the Shetland Isles. The use of a multi-function manipulator was essential for this operation in an area where currents of up to 2 knots were experienced. "Once I had the vehicle properly trimmed and ballasted, the Seaeye Falcon, with its 50 Kilos of thrust, was very easy to operate on this precise and demanding operation", said Chris Bryant.
The UK Ministry of Defence have now also ordered manipulator skids for their Seaeye Falcons.
The Manipulator features 180 degree wrist rotate and 90 degree shoulder rotate among its five functions and has a lift capability of 10 kilos at full reach. The cable cutter can cut up to 12mm diameter stainless steel wire rope or 19mm polypropylene rope. Both units use the same small hydraulic power pack and 5 function solenoid valve pack.
Source: Seaeye Ltd