According to a newspaper of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, companies installing subsea cables for telecommunications companies and pipelines for the oil industry have now a new tool, the UT-1 Ultra Trencher which is the world's biggest subsea robot. This beauty weighs 60 tons (in the air) and has a length of 7.8 meters, a width of 7.8 meters and a height of 5.6 meters. In fact, it has the dimensions of a small house but is more expensive, carrying a price tag of about £10 millions. It can move at a speed of 2 to 3 knots under the sea. And it can trench pipelines with a 1-meter diameter in deep waters of up to 1,500 meters. But read more...
Here is what the UT-1 Ultra Trencher looks like. This huge subsea robot has been built by Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), a Newcastle upon Tyne company which develops specialized remote controlled submersible robots (ROVs).
The first UT-1 Ultra Trencher has been delivered to CTC Marine Projects, a subsea contractor, based in North East of England, UK, and a subsidiary of DeepOcean, a norwegian company focused on subsea services. This submarine robot will be permanently installed on one of their new vessels, the Volantis (PDF format, 6 pages, 764 KB).
Here is a short excerpt from the Henderson article. "Weighing 50 tonnes and the size of small house, it is designed to bury largediameter oil and gas pipelines laid on the ocean floor. It does this by 'flying' down up to a mile deep below the surface using powerful propellers. It then lands over the pipeline and deploys a pair of 'jet swords' either side of the pipe which inject high pressure water to 'fluidise' the surface. Burying the pipelines protects them from fishing, shipwrecks and natural currents. This enables oil and gas to be safely transported from the offshore fields to land to provide secure energy supplies."
For more information, you'll find the complete specifications of the UT-1 Ultra Trencher in this PDF datasheet (2 pages, 917 KB), from which the above illustration has been extracted.
Here is a short excerpt. "The UT-1 Ultra Trencheris the world's most powerful jetting trencher, offering unparalleled flexibility in severe weather deployment and operation. With more than 2 megawatts of total power, the trencher delivers 1.5 megawatts of actual jetting energy to the cutting surface."
Sources: Tony Henderson, The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, via redOrbit, March 20, 2008; and various websites
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