Scottish collaboration for improved diver safety
A new on-demand wireless ribbon lighting system, designed to revolutionise diver safety and efficiency in remote subsea locations, has been launched by collaborating Scottish technology companies, WFS Technologies Ltd and PhotoSynergy Ltd (PSL).
Seatooth LIGHTPATH is a combination of two advanced technologies – WFS’s Seatooth, a subsea wireless communication system that can download and log information gathered on subsea installations remotely and PhotoSynergy Ltd’s LIGHTPATH, a side-emitting flexible fibre that projects a continuous line of light that carries no electrical power.
Don Walker, director, PhotoSynergy Ltd, said the companies had joined forces in a bid to find a solution to an industry request for a remote switching system to remove the need for physical contact, which would save subsea operational companies time and money, increase productivity and avert potential damage to ROV and structures.
“Combining Seatooth technology with the LIGHTPATH product increases the capability of LIGHTPATH. This is most significant in terms of battery utilisation where LIGHTPATH is only illuminated as required operating either in a flashing or continuous operation,” he said.
“By integrating the two products, we have produced a much more convenient and efficient method for lighting a challenging environment with no physical contact required from a distance of five metres. The subsea environment is an intrinsically dangerous place where it is easy to become disoriented, so the Seatooth LIGHTPATH is a very significant development in safety.”
The new product works for both diver and ROV operators working either near surface or at depths of up to 3,000m. The light is engaged automatically when the diver or the ROV comes within 5m of a structure, and provides instant illumination of subsea architecture and delineating features such as control valves, docking bays and even the outline of the structure itself against the natural darkness of the underwater environment.
It switches off automatically when the diver or the ROV departs the scene and has the ability to act as a proximity warning system when approaching installations, other divers, ROVs or danger areas.
The unit has been successfully tested in the lab, and will be trialled in subsea conditions in early 2017.