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Tritech Success Story with Seatronics Ltd

Seatronics Integrates Innovative Tritech Multibeam Imaging Sonar into the VALOR – its Lightest and Most Powerful Observation Class ROV on the Market Today

Seatronics customers get Tritech Gemini 1200ik standard with VALOR rentals and sales

Seatronics Ltd, a leading provider of marine technology electronics and tooling for rental/hire and purchase, has been both a customer and partner of Tritech for over 30 years. The reason for this long and fruitful association? The innovation and reliability that Tritech has demonstrated over the years—first as the market leader with the Gemini 720is sonar solutions for the industrial and work class ROV market, and, increasingly, for the smaller, more versatile inspection class ROVs. For these inspection class ROVs, Tritech developed one of the industry’s first miniaturised multi-beam imaging sonars, the Gemini 1200ik, that delivers exceptional range and resolution even in low visibility conditions.

Seatronics VALOR + Tritech Gemini 1200ik, A Superior Solution

As a leading technology specialist in subsea electronics, Seatronics are experienced in the delivery of technical solutions and, in VALOR, a class leading inspection class ROV. Both its rental and sales customers rely on Seatronics to source, customise, and deliver the best in marine electronics equipment with the latest technology to meet their diverse needs.

Seatronics has distinguished itself from other subsea equipment rental companies by designing and manufacturing its own inspection class ROV, known as the VALOR (Versatile and Lightweight Observation ROV). Small and flexible, the VALOR carries survey and inspection capabilities beyond those of other vehicles in its class. The Seatronics business model is to incorporate the latest and best-in-class auxiliary electronics sensors such as sonars, altimeters, cameras, etc. onto their ROVs as specified by the customer. Because of the small form factor and unique flatter shape of the Gemini 1200ik, it is easier to mount the solution onto the tilt unit on the VALOR.

But Seatronics has gone a step further with Tritech. The Tritech Gemini 1200ik multibeam imaging sonar has been integrated into the VALOR’s software module and graphical user interface (GUI) as part of their standard best-in-class offering. Many systems in this market will take an ROV, add the sonar sensor and run it through an auxiliary computer.

“What we’ve done that’s a key differentiator for us is to embed the Tritech sonar into our software operating system as part of the GUI so it is front and centre at all times on the main system command screen. The unique mechanical integration of the sonar would not have been possible a few years ago when sonars, especially multibeam sonars, were too large. There’s the testament to the sensor shrinking over time. That’s a really key part. Tritech made all this possible by shrinking the size of multibeam imaging sonar.”  Jamie Neilson, ROV Project Manager (Sales) at Seatronics.

The benefit of including the control and image display of the Gemini 1200ik in the operating system is that it can now be easily pre-programmed enhancing the overall functionality of the system. Not only does the sonar image display continuously on the remote operator’s screen, the various types of sensors which are integrated into the operating system share information in real time. This is thanks to the lower latency of the Ethernet network, which greatly minimises latency and the issues it can present. this means VALOR can be flown with a joystick using remote control from the other side of the world. If a mission is pre-programmed, then the ROV doesn’t have to wait for commands to proceed and its operation can be supervised rather than dynamically controlled.

Once a survey grid is mapped on the system screen, the ROV operator can see the map and superimpose the sonar fan on top of it to determine the range and bearings of objects critical to the mission. The operator has established a set point that is a positional or dimensional reference and can see exactly how far things are away, even in zero visibility conditions. It is now possible to map out a mission before it even starts.

How the Tritech Gemini 1200ik Works

The Gemini 1200ik multibeam imaging sonar offers two operational frequencies that can switch between low and high, according to the user’s requirements. The 720kHz low frequency setting is designed for target identification and obstacle avoidance at long range, while the 1200kHz high frequency setting offers extremely detailed multibeam images, ideal for inspection at close range. The Gemini 1200ik maintains a 120° field of view across both frequencies, ensuring the target remains in view even at high frequency and short range. Switching frequencies can be set to automatic at a specific range or done manually. The Gemini 1200ik has a 350m or 1,000m depth rating.

“Tritech’s multibeam quality is in a class of its own. The resolution you pick up compared with previous generation sonars is such that you can almost fly on this ‘Sonar camera’ without having a video picture, and it is a real-time sonar. With its dual frequency capability, we get the benefit of a high resolution close up and then we also get the range. That’s what we see as a big benefit.” Jamie Neilson, ROV Project Manager (Sales) at Seatronics
“Seatronics rental customers specify the Gemini 1200ik by name,” said Brett Laurenson, Global Sales Director and Regional Manager Americas of Seatronics Group. “This is not surprising as Tritech’s Gemini 1200ik multibeam imaging sonar has earned a reputation for reliability and superior performance.”

The Use Cases for the Tritech Gemini 1200ik

Ideal for ROV operation in harsh and low visibility conditions and where desired views are beyond the range of cameras, the Gemini 1200ik is used by Seatronics customers for obstacle avoidance, ordnance identification, search and recovery, inspections/maintenance, mapping/surveying/measurement, and navigation and tracking. Industries include oil and gas, wind and renewable energy, ports and harbours, military, research vehicles, environmental and metocean, and marine science and aquaculture.

Additional Tritech equipment Seatronics incorporates in its solutions.

In addition to Gemini 1200ik, Seatronics uses Tritech altimeters on its VALOR which are used to precisely track the undulations of the seabed to maintain a constant altitude profile above it. This automatic station-keeping function allows the sensors to provide consistent data based on the same range no matter where the ROV is in relation to the seabed. Seatronics also uses the Tritech MicronNAV 200, the latest generation of its Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) positioning system. A beacon on the ROV uses acoustic signalling to communicate with a receiver close to the topside equipment, which continuously pings it. The ROV responds to each ping which allows the topside to plot its location and provide a visual reference. When the ROV is instructed to move to a new position, it is issued with the required X,Y,Z coordinates to navigate to it automatically in a straight line without a pilot’s intervention.

About Tritech International Limited

Founded in 1991, Tritech International Limited (Tritech) has provided the subsea industry with robust, reliable imaging and ancillary equipment for the harshest environments and most difficult underwater applications. Our mechanical scanning and multibeam imaging sonars, profiling solutions, oceanographic bathymetric and depth sensing products support the subsea working environment making it less hazardous and preventing harm to the environment. Tritech innovative solutions such as the Gemini 720is and Gemini 1200ik imaging sonars are renowned as the industry standard for industrial, work and inspection class ROVs.