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Thorite helps underwater vehicles stay watertight

Thorite helps underwater vehicles stay watertight

Monday 5th September 2011

The UK's biggest pneumatic products and process systems distributor, Thorite, has designed and supplied a package of test equipment to Aberdeen-based NCS Survey, the leading independent UK Offshore Survey company.

The test equipment is based around a Vuototecnica electric vacuum pump, with all additional components preassembled for fast operational deployment, to test the water tightness of NCS Survey's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).

The AUVs are torpedo-sized survey submersibles manufactured by Teledyne Gavia, which NCS Survey uses in its core business of providing survey and positioning solutions for the upstream Oil & Gas, Offshore Renewables, Hydrography, Ports & Harbours and Telecommunication industries.  Each AUV in constructed in "plug-together" modules around 500mm in length, which can be assembled in various formats to change the operating functions of each submersible.  The Thorite equipment enables each of the seals between modules to be vacuum tested in the field, to ensure there can be no water ingress during dives.

Alan McDonald, NCS Survey's Engineering Manager, has been impressed with Thorite's capabilities and said: "Although relatively small in size our AUVs are extremely sophisticated seabed mapping vehicles which can carry side scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders and cameras to produce highly detailed 3D underwater images.  The Thorite equipment is currently being used to test AUVs that are monitoring the scouring effects of tides and currents around the seabed foundations of offshore turbine locations.  It was a pleasure to deal with Thorite, particularly Clive Halliday, their Process and Vacuum Manager, who provided proactive, enthusiastic and knowledgeable advice.  His helpful approach and immediate grasp of our unusual requirements enabled specialist equipment to be sourced and assembled quickly and efficiently - and I'm delighted I selected his company after searching the web for a possible supplier."

NCS Survey is part of the Acteon group of companies.  There are 17 companies in the group, possessing unique experience, skills and technologies that link seabed to surface across the entire life of the field.

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