In collaboration with our clients, we are also developing new capabilities to transform our industry now and long into the future Our systems, software and workflows are employed across a range of subsea inspection and automation applications. By choosing Cathx Ocean, our clients are assured of efficiency and reliability – no matter what their mission type. Precision measurements and considerable cost reductions are delivered every time through three key components:
Cathx Ocean provides solutions to meet the specific technical and commercial requirements of numerous subsea applications.
Cathx Ocean systems enable high-speed data acquisition and remove the need for vehicle stoppages. Using sophisticated optical solutions and optimised sensor configurations, we can resolve submillimetre features from distances of 5 metres or more.
Unlike all other cameras on the market, which are adapted for underwater use with waterproof and pressure-sealed housing, our cameras and lighting are specifically designed for subsea environments from the outset. As such, they improve visual clarity by significantly reducing the impact of particles in the water. Pulsed lighting sequences also help to eliminate motion blur and increase the range of visibility.
Our systems gather more than just images. Precision time synchronisation via PPS or NTP is coupled with interleaved laser and lighting from one or more sensors, to generate data that is co-registered geographically. This allows layers of metadata to be incorporated into each image and provides the platform for precision measurement and robust automation.
Calibration is a crucial tool when it comes to precision in visualisation or 3D model construction. Any number of small deviations in subsea conditions – changes in temperature, refractive index, stress on vehicles or components – can impact on precision levels.
Building on our dual-source capabilities, Cathx Ocean patented technologies produce unparalleled precision calibration. What really makes our tools different, is the ability to check calibration post-collection. Any errors in the data, caused by environmental factors, can be addressed through self-calibration, even after the operation has been completed.
FDI® Pipeline Inspection
Solutions for Today
Cathx Ocean has partnered with subsea pipeline operators, contractors and asset owners for many years now. We supply a range of solutions, tailored to meet the specific requirements of detailed pipeline inspection tasks. We deliver these through:
– Unique imaging quality
– High-resolution stills that enable unambiguous verification
– Precision laser data that supports detailed and accurate measurements.
Trunk pipelines represent a vital piece of infrastructure, channelling energy over long distances. Infield flowlines are also integral to the oil production process. It is critical that subsea pipeline operators can adequately monitor these assets and quickly identify any risks.
Pipeline surveys are traditionally carried out using video and multibeam at speeds of 0.5 knots or less. Data outputs are then reviewed manually. This is a slow and subjective practice but high-speed AUV and ROV systems create an attractive alternative. Cathx Ocean Fast Digital Inspection (FDI®) multi-camera systems offer reliable, high-quality images and colour point cloud data at speeds of up to 5 knots. Faster data acquisition can put pressure on existing processing tools.
To ensure that our clients gain all the benefits of these efficiencies, we have developed a series of workflows that integrate with and optimise existing resources and data processing tools. By increasing the efficiency of subsea pipeline surveys, we reduce overall costs. By reducing costs, we enable more frequent inspections. The data collected by more regular inspections then generates the information to reduce actual intervention. This, in turn, produces more efficiencies.
Innovations for Tomorrow
But our aim is to do even more with this data. Working with integrity management groups, Cathx Ocean is evolving technologies to automate external, risk-based pipeline inspection.
Pipeline Geometry Analysis
Software is used to assess the geometric shape of a pipeline. Combining shape fitting and statistical deviation analysis, it then extracts information on circularity, height off seabed, free span, dents and adhesion. We are designing tools to reconstruct the pipeline trajectory through local position determination. By facilitating early detection of buckling and pipeline movement, costly damage and delayed intervention can be avoided.
Advances in our measurement and data management tools act as key enablers for automated eventing. With our clients, we are working to introduce automated eventing in staged developments from ROV to full AUV operations. When established, this will bring about dramatic efficiencies and aid risk prevention for our clients. On-pipeline events such as anodes, field joints, delamination, coating status and leaks will be automatically detected by our systems. Similarly, beside-pipeline events, like dropped objects, anchors, UXOs and rocks, will also be highlighted.
Cathx Ocean is leading the way for next-generation pipeline inspection solutions. Our technological capabilities, combined with the rich data collected by our systems, provide the elements necessary for reliable and robust pipeline inspection today and fully automated pipeline inspection in the future. This can deliver cost reductions of up to 80% in some instances. To learn more about our pipeline inspection programmes, or if you would like to discuss your specific requirements, please get in touch with us today.
Environmental and Area-based Surveys
Environmental and area-based surveys rely on accurate information being gathered over large expanses. Fast data collection and high-resolution data sets are key to the success of these operations.
Cathx Ocean work with our customers to build tools for visualisation and review of large area data sets, stitching together images with metadata to produce reliable, high-resolution 2D visualisations of a selected area. Our laser tools generate precise 3D point clouds, enabling the reconstruction of seabed models for eventing and for the accurate measurement of specific regions.
Our tools help to secure the success of a variety of area-based applications, including environmental surveys, seabed surveys, UXO surveys and decommissioning projects.
3D Structure Inspection
Close visual inspections of 3D structures were traditionally carried out using video. The associated slow speeds and stop-start vehicle operation made these very costly procedures.
But there are now proven alternatives. Cathx Ocean works with clients in this area, offering a number of solutions to overcome the limitations of conventional video inspections.
3D models, precision imaging data sets and laser point cloud measurements mean that data can be acquired at high speeds and quality checked on-vessel, while review and processing take place onshore. Likewise, by assisting simple navigation around 3D structures, our systems ensure high-resolution image quality.
Precision laser data is used to detect variances in structural dimension or differences in height or slump measurement. Comparing this data with previous results allows asset owners to identify changes at an early stage and take remedial action.
Cathx Ocean calibration tools provide unique measurement capabilities, both on the seabed and in the water column. Removing the need for external navigation sensors, they yield considerable time and cost savings for operators and asset owners.
The underwater environment is unpredictable. Changes in the refractive index, temperature, salinity and pressure can substantially impact on the precision of any measurement being performed. Available on all Cathx Ocean systems, our unique calibration tools eliminate these problems, even after the data has been collected.
With many optical configurations possible, we are also refining our calibration capabilities to suit bespoke applications, where higher precision levels are called for.
Mooring Chain Inspection
Mooring chains are used to hold highly valuable, subsea assets in place. They require regular inspection and this is carried out using calipers or mechanical means. But quality can be compromised by underwater conditions. Heave, causing movement in the chains, creates a particular challenge for ROV inspection.
Based on high frame rate imaging, Cathx Ocean is developing a solution to counteract the relative motion between the chains and vehicle. When released, SOLID sfm will determine the relative position of the two objects and correlate this information with synchronised laser scan data and relative movement.
This will produce an ‘optical calliper’ that is measured by, essentially, freezing the motion.
Through combined image and laser data, Cathx Ocean will enable submillimetre resolution for the critical lengths and cross sections of the chain links, along with precision measurement of internal and external link lengths.
Traditional metrology over larger distances requires external navigation beacons to determine position. Beacon installation can incur extremely high vessel costs and the accuracy of measurement very much depends on the positioning system used. Added to that, multiple ROV passes are often required to ensure quality of data.
In response to these issues, Cathx Ocean is working with several clients to streamline spool metrology. We are evolving precision measurement tools that will deliver accurate measurements over ranges of 70 metres.
This innovation extends far beyond spool metrology. Precision measurement of subsea assets with known fixed location, identification of dimensional changes over time and detection of sinking, subsidence or movement can all be achieved.
There are many potential applications for automation – anything from pipeline tracking to intervention tasks and from manipulator movement to full automation of resident vehicles. The possibilities are endless.
Our innovations to date enable automatic processing of data from subsea vehicles, which paves the way for future machine decision-making. Through our continuous research and development, Cathx Ocean is spearheading progress in this area.
In fact, we are collaborating with key clients on high-speed vehicle operations to bring laser-based pipeline tracking to the market. Processing over 100,000 points per second, our laser tools will extract pipeline shape information and report status and position to the vehicle control in real time. This automation will facilitate navigation, especially for high-speed vehicles, and reduce information loss due to drift.
Drawing the Maps for Full Automation
Knowledge of infield structures, in a format that is machine-readable, is an essential requirement for the development of resident ROV and AUV systems.
Linear, area, 3D and precision measurement applications fuse together to form a full picture of underwater assets. Cathx Ocean is using these components to draw the maps for future subsea vehicle automation.
And we are weaving these maps into everything we do. Our systems capture rich, complex data and process it, ready to be accessed and optimised by machines in the future. This will bring about real-time local navigation and automation so that the subsea operations of tomorrow can be achieved with minimal human intervention.