ROVworld Subsea Information

Century Subsea and NGI announce Smart Wire Metrology Agreement
Date: Monday, October 11, 2004 @ 16:32:59 EDT
Topic: SURVEY NEWS


globeCentury Subsea has been selected by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute as its partner to commercialize and operate the Smart Wire Metrology System for a 3-year period until 2007.


Smart Wire Metrology is a unique digital taut wire metrology System suitable for either diver or ROV operation. Smart Wire was first designed in 1999 in collaboration between NGI and Deep Water Solutions. Statoil hold the patent for the system. Smart Wire, which is already in its second generation of design and optimisation, is field proven to offer versatility, efficiency and high levels of measurement accuracy.

Smart Wire System Diagram

Smart Wire technology has taken taut wire metrology into the ‘digital age’. The key innovation of Smart Wire is the digital encoding of wire length and angular measurement. Digital encoding enables readings to be taken in real-time; recorded directly at the seabed and transmitted immediately to the support vessel via diver or ROV umbilical.

Conventional taut wire measurement systems, which are still being used today, were the successor to the diver’s tape measure. They have been the basis of underwater measurement of pipeline spool pieces for decades. The analogue nature of conventional taut wire systems requires the operator to ‘set’ their measurements at the seabed. After time-consuming recovery to surface, the system is re-measured on deck before final measurements are confirmed.

This introduces significant risks and disadvantages:

1. the wire measurement can be disturbed during return to surface
2. the temperature differential between deepwater seabed and surface can result in altered wire length and incorrect measurements
3. recovery of the instrument to surface for each measurement consumes hours of ROV time in deepwater projects. This lost time is in the critical path of the project.


Smart Wire’s digital technology avoids all of the risks and disadvantages of conventional taut wire systems.

Prior to this Agreement, Century Subsea had employed acoustics for all of its subsea metrology projects. Smart Wire is capable of full stand-alone measurement or can be used in conjunction with Acoustic metrology systems.

Smart Wire can become the correct choice over acoustics in certain projects where: 
•  metrology is required during drilling operations where there is high acoustic ambient noise 
•  there is a potential of acoustic reflection due to the natural seabed environment such as ‘glory holes’ or steep embankments 
•  work is beneath or obstructed by steelwork such as platforms 
•  multiple metrology tasks are at different locations and cannot be economically covered by a single acoustic array or an ‘efficient’ extended network of transponders

Century Subsea has an outstanding capability in acoustic metrology demonstrated by its track record in the field – notably in deepwater projects. As the exclusive operator of Smart Wire, Century Subsea further consolidates its position as a leader in subsea metrology. It is now able to offer its offshore installation customers the most innovative and technically sophisticated suite of systems in the industry.

Century Subsea will be pleased to review customers’ metrology requirements and advise on the optimum solution.


11 October 2004

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Century Subsea
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