A simple yet innovative new tool is set to make waves in the oil and gas industry after successfully undergoing a commercial trial at award-winning subsea training and trials facility, The Underwater Centre.
Commercial divers and ROV pilot technicians recently trialled the ‘Waveblade’ while working in Loch Linnhe, simulating a realistic operational environment.Waveblade, a lightweight, hand-held submersible power tool, is designed to remove marine growth through vibration, without harming underlying surfaces.The tool has been developed to be used as a hand tool for divers and also as a separate tool to be fitted to the arm of an ROV.
Waveblade’s patented technology delivers high frequency resonance through its oscillating head, sending multi-directional vibration through the blade into the unwanted marine growth. The wave power has been shown to remove organic growth more thoroughly in a fraction of the time without damaging surfaces compared to current methods such as scrapers and high pressure water jetting.
Advice, support and expertise regarding the operational aspect of the trial was provided by the marine operations, ROV instructors, dive team and support staff from The Underwater Centre, who participated in the trail.
James Hall, Chairman of Waveblade, said that the first trial at The Underwater Centre had gone exceptionally well.“The Waveblade is very different from anything else on the market. During the trial, it worked brilliantly for the divers and ROV pilots, and the results were very much what we had hoped for,” he said.“
The Underwater Centre was the ideal location for such a trial; we were able to sit in the control centre and interact with the team which was trying it out. There were a number of challenges during the trial; however, the team at the Centre was able to help us overcome these in a very short time and the divers got to grips with the Waveblade pretty much straight away. To have this type of service was invaluable.“We are currently talking to a number of oil and gas companies about the product, and we are looking to develop the small tool for larger, heavier commercial use. The feedback we have had so far has been very positive.”
Steve Ham, General Manager of The Underwater Centre, said that trialling new subsea equipment is an important part of what the Centre does.“It’s always very gratifying to be able to assist companies such as Waveblade, which are at the forefront of technology development for the oil and gas sector,” he said.“Key industry figures have spoken recently about the importance of developing new technologies more quickly, but in a cost effective way; the facilities we have on offer at the Centre help achieve this by providing an alternative to having to test offshore.”
The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of a seawater lake, Loch Linnhe, well sheltered by the surrounding mountains. The Centre’s unique location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in an open-water environment, while still being centrally located in the largest town in the Scottish Highlands.
With access to depths of over 100 m, The Underwater Centre is the ideal location to perform realistic and industry-specific saturation and air diver and ROV pilot technician training, as well as providing a convenient location for subsea equipment trials.
The Underwater Centre, which also has a school in Tasmania, comprises an extensive pier complex including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers. With accommodation and additional classrooms based at the landward end of the pier, it is set up to provide its students with the skills and experience to succeed in their new careers, and continue providing the subsea industry with the workforce that it needs.