5 Most Important Factors when Purchasing an ROV
The introduction of submersible Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and drones has revolutionized underwater navigation. Traditionally, humans would be bound to diving limits, or rely on expensive, on-board piloted submarines to examine submerged assets. In modern practice, ROVs are now being used globally across a wide range of industries such as Aquaculture, Infrastructure, Energy, Search and Rescue, Commercial Diving, Defense, etc..
As the technology for underwater exploration advances, identifying the best ROV for a project becomes more complex. The perfect underwater exploration and inspection tool varies drastically depending on a variety of circumstances. Different tasks, environments, and budgets all dictate which ROV package is right for you. The aim of this guide is to lay out the five most important factors that should be considered before purchasing an ROV.
1. RobustnessBefore purchasing and deploying an ROV, it is integral to evaluate its ability to solve the task at hand. As we continue to make exciting advances in the robotics industry, not every new feature will be relevant for every project. Working from the end-goal up ensures that the chosen ROV package is fully capable, without paying extra for unnecessary bells and whistles. Some key areas to consider when evaluating the robustness of an ROV are: depth rating, camera capabilities, power/control, lighting, sensor integration, and availability of task-specific addons.
Every question you ask yourself should be in reference to the ROV’s ability to complete the core task. Modern ROVs are capable of housing a wide array of attachments. Some of these have general application across many tasks, while others can be extremely specific for a particular industry. Before committing to a vehicle model, assess whether its core capabilities and compatible addons provide a viable solution for your current problem.
At Deep Trekker, quality is of the utmost importance. The ROVs are constructed of aluminum, which provides superior durability compared to plastic bodied ROVs. Before leaving production, they are also anodized and powder-coated to prevent rusting. To ensure quality, every single Deep Trekker ROV undergoes rigorous testing that includes a full run through of battery cycle and pressure test.
2. Ability to Handle the EnvironmentEnvironmental conditions directly dictate the required power for optimal control of an ROV. Open bodies of water like oceans, lakes, and rivers will have drastically different currents and obstacles compared to controlled water environments such as water storage tanks. It’s pivotal to have a clear understanding of the average work environment of the ROV to judge the required thruster count/power capabilities.
While ROVs are built specifically to dive underwater, many models on the market have components which aren’t water resistant. This can cause issues when deploying boat-side or during rain. Topside power sources and components such as laptops or monitors can limit the usability of the ROV in poor weather conditions. For the most versatile solution, ensure that all of the ROV’s components have some form of water resistance.
Deep Trekker ROVs ship as a complete visual inspection solution. All units ship with a splash proof controller and a durable tether with a 300lbs break strength. Our ROVs are also able to withstand harsh temperatures down to -5° C (23°F) for year-round operation through most climates.
3. Ease-of-UseAnother important factor to consider when purchasing an ROV is the ease-of-use. Depending on the industry, the frequency of ROV deployment can range from daily to annually. In many cases, it won’t always be the same employee piloting the ROV, or there may be extended time between usage. Buying a model with simple and intuitive controls ensures that any operator can pick up the vehicle and be operational in minutes.
In addition to piloting the ROV, portability is a major factor to consider before purchase. Some large work-class ROVs can be hundreds of pounds and require machinery to deploy. While this may be a necessity for work at depths below 1,000ft, the majority of situations will benefit from smaller form factors to allow deployment from virtually anywhere.
At Deep Trekker we pride ourselves on making incredibly intuitive ROVs that anyone can use. With Deep Trekker’s patented pitching system and gaming-style controller, maneuvering the ROV around obstacles is made easy. Near-zero latency video feed to the 7” controller screen provides excellent vision for improved piloting. While advanced training is available, most Deep Trekker customers are familiar with their units within a single afternoon.
4. ManageabilityFrom the first mission to the hundredth, having an easy-to-manage system is a very valuable feature of any ROV package. Overall manageability and maintenance is impacted by the complexity of the vehicle/addons, as well as the quality of materials/engineering. Opting for a high quality product with thoughtful engineering for durability is the key to headache-free ROV ownership.
Deep Trekker’s ROVs have been carefully crafted to be extremely easy to manage. Depending on the model, the entire system conveniently packs up into rugged Pelican wheeled cases for superior protection. The included reel keeps the tether organized to avoid tangling. The tether itself is incredibly durable and can easily be re-terminated
With no O-rings or seals to grease or replace there is no need to open up Deep Trekker ROVs at any time. The only required maintenance is rinsing the ROV off with freshwater after a saltwater mission and completing a full battery charge every few months if the ROV is idle.
5. PriceRegardless of organization size, maintaining a budget is a key part of any asset purchase. However, ensuring that all aspects of the intended task can be accomplished should be prioritized over all else. Especially for complex open water missions, opting for a high quality, properly suited ROV will ensure a higher ROI over the long-term.
At Deep Trekker, we have worked tremendously hard to keep our prices as affordable as possible and ensure that our products and spare parts are not out of reach for customers’ budgets. That being said, we were not willing to compromise the quality of our products for price. We use the highest quality parts available and provide robust features to best suit your applications, without an inflated price tag.
Deep Trekker also offers three different ROV models to suit any budget. For more information on the available packages, click here. To optimize budgets even further, customers have the choice of purchasing from pre-built packages, or creating a custom ‘a-la-carte’ package so they are only paying for the features they need.
6. BONUSA bonus factor to take into consideration when purchasing your ROV is the customer support you will receive. Having reliable, direct contact with the company ensures that all questions or concerns are resolved quickly to avoid escalation.
Behind the precision engineering and comprehensive features, Deep Trekker also takes pride in their excellent customer service. When someone buys a Deep Trekker, they become a part of the Deep Trekker Community. Our dedicated sales and service team has expertise across many industries, and will work diligently to resolve any concerns that come up after purchase.
Making any large purchase can be a complicated and stressful process. In the world of robotics, this can be especially true. This guide is aimed at helping potential customers feel confident in their ROV decision. To reach out about any remaining questions or get a custom quote, contact one of our industry specialists today.
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