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We successfully launched SLS2000 at Subsea Expo 2016


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We are enjoying a hat trick of successes as a major operator and two subsea service companies push the envelope to further the safety of their diving personnel and increase efficiency in the subsea sector.

The North Sea Operator has, for the first time, included PSL’s LIGHTPATH technology in its diving operations and management guidance document, which aims to ensure compliance with latest legislation and industry best practice.

Meanwhile, leading international inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) companies Harkand and Bibby Offshore have also announced their continuing support for PSL’s LIGHTPATH range of products, which offer an innovative technical solution to sectors, including the challenging and hazardous subsea environment, where safety of life is paramount.

Winner of the Subsea UK Innovation for Safety Award 2014, LIGHTPATH is a side-emitting flexible fibre that projects a continuous and flexible line of light that carries no electrical power and has a life expectancy of five years. 

We launched SLS2000

PSL has also this week launched the latest in its portfolio of subsea products – the SLS2000 – which was developed following feedback from divers and their teams, providing the option to illuminate the dive umbilical from the diver end.

It was produced following requests from industry for a minimal-sized light source which would not impede the diver during his work. A small, compact unit at just 30mm in diameter and 70mm long, it was designed to provide a light source to saturation divers using an LED attached to the umbilical at the diver’s end. 

Operational sea trials of the unit – which can be used in both saturation and air diving – are planned with existing clients following successful competition of final in-house tests and third party pressure testing.

PSL Director Don Walker said that the recognition of the increased safety afforded to divers utilising the LIGHTPATH umbilical lighting concept by these companies marked a significant step for PSL, and that the level of support shown by Harkand and Bibby Offshore had been invaluable in helping to develop LIGHTPATH for more specific markets.

PSL has been operating LIGHTPATH in the North Sea for the past three years, and the general consensus among the dive community is that divers feel safer using the technology to illuminate saturation diver umbilicals, which enhances safety and productivity for all parties, including the individual diver, colleagues in the water and the bell-man.  It also gives confidence to the ROV pilot as to the location of diver umbilicals, thus minimising the risk of collision and can significantly reduce the incidence of umbilical snagging, both for saturation and surface air divers.

Harkand & Bibby Offshore Endorsement  

Harkand, which has been using another of PSL products – the SLS5000 - on two of its North Sea vessels for the past few years, has also recognised the importance of the SLS2000 and is currently in talks with PSL about trialling it. Jerry Starling, Harkand’s group diving manager, and a member of the IMCA diving division management committee, said that as a company, Harkand recognised that although not a mandatory or industry specific requirement, LIGHTPATH enhanced the diver’s ability to manage their umbilical, improving their safety and simultaneously delivering more efficient operations.  

Umbilical management is a key component of diver activity for both safety and time saving reasons, and Harkand’s divers found that LIGHTPATH helped reduce recovery time as the diver can track and identify their route back to the bell, as well as identify any snags and entanglement of the umbilical due to the variations in colour offered by the equipment. It also ensured that divers and ROV pilots could constantly monitor that the umbilical was clear during equipment deployment and recovery.

Bibby Offshore, who have worked with PSL from the outset to help with the development of LIGHTPATH, is about to start trials of the SLS2000 within the next few weeks.  Diving Manager Ian Mitchell, said that Bibby Offshore regarded LIGHTPATH as a significant safety enhancement and used it as standard on all its DSVs.

Research & Innovation

PSL, which has its origins in scientific research undertaken at the University of St Andrews’ Photonics Innovation Centre, aims to turn the LIGHTPATH concept into a global commercial product allowing it to become part of the broad and growing domestic upstream oil and gas supply chain.

Its suite of products can be used for a wide range of applications from guide path illumination through to the extremes of challenging, hazardous and submerged environments. They include: 

  • SLS2000 – PSL’s most recent product, developed following feedback from divers and their teams, providing the option to illuminate the dive umbilical from the diver end
  • SLS5000 - designed primarily to illuminate saturation excursion dive umbilicals, and has been in operation in the North Sea for more than two years. It has a range of applications for subsea and salvage divers, ROV pilots and marine archaeologists.
  • SLS7000 - can operate in depths of up to 3,000m and was developed to address a variety of deep water applications brought to PSL’s attention by subsea industry operators, including supporting work-class ROVs

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