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Mini ROV Thickness Gauge in Action

Cody Warner   |   July 30, 2015

Mini ROVs have long been considered just a remote control camera with limited working capabilities. Deep Trekker's aim to provide a portable, affordable and easy to use solution does not stop at just getting eyes underwater. The greatest source of innovation and what we view as the most important part of our business is our customer's feedback; this is not just for buying the products!

Customers have unique needs and problems, especially when underwater. This is where we push ourselves to build custom solutions for these unique problems. What we have discovered is that many problems that seem unique at first glance end up being a pain point for many without them even realizing.

This is the story with many of our products, such as our Sonars or Sediment Samplers. Today we focus on the Cygnus Thickness Gauge, an attachment mounted to the bottom of the Deep Trekker ROV that measures the thickness of metal, usually used to inspect the extent of corrosion. This is important for hull inspections and tank inspections.

UWILD, or Underwater Inspections in lieu of Dry-docking, are hull inspections performed regularly on ships while the ship is still in the water. Traditionally, these inspections were performed by divers, subjecting them to high risk situations. The inspections require thickness measurements as well as visual inspections. These inspections are safest performed by a Mini ROV and also happen to be the most cost effective method if performed just a couple of times with a Deep Trekker ROV. Dry-docking is extremely costly due to taking the ship out of service for long periods of time, but the extent of corrosion of ships is important to prevent any leaks or accidents.

Ballast Tanks are also a prime candidate for thickness measurements because they are located on large vessels and oil platforms. They are used to aid in balancing the structures by holding water to match the buoyancy of the water that the structure is submerged in. These are usually filled with unfiltered salt water. This water corrodes the large tank, meaning inspections are key to maintenance. They are large and expensive to fix and key to structural integrity. Currently, the tanks are drained for inspections and inspectors are dropped in by rope and pulley, placing them in an oxygen deprived enclosed space. The empty tanks also would no longer aid the structure in balance, so it is risky to empty these tanks in the first place. Sending a Deep Trekker ROV equipped with a Thickness Gauge allows for the ROV to complete these inspections in a fraction of the time while mitigating all risks.

The measurements are taken by driving the ROV into the wall and holding its place for 2-3 seconds. The measurements are delivered through the tether and split at the surface to your laptop, where you register readings into a report format.

The Thickness Gauge records measurements within 0.1 mm of accuracy (most Corrosion regulations require within 0.5 mm of accuracy). It is also capable of recording measurements through up to half an inch of soft marine growth, which often exists on hulls and tanks that measurements are taken from.

How are you inspecting your hull and ballast tanks right now? Do you have an underwater problem that needs solving? We'd love to hear what the status quo is, give us feedback in the comment section below. Deep Trekker is here to help, you can also contact us so we can start solving your problem today.

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