Inuktun Sighting #17: Master Manipulator

By BRIAN STORIE, Inuktun Europe Director

For a company like Seatronics, success hinges on precision.

Specialising in marine electronic equipment rental and sales for applications such as geophysical and hydrographic survey; positioning; metocean; video inspection; ROV survey and tooling; diving and non-destructive testing; and information technology and fishing sensors, Seatronics is well-respected globally for its services and its state-of-the-art calibration facilities.

When presented with an opportunity beyond its usual scope, however, Seatronics teamed up with Inuktun to ensure it carried over its reputation for precision into a new application.

Seatronics Predator ROV and laptop control with Inuktun manipulator

Working with government security and law enforcement departments, military dive teams and fire and rescue services, Seatronics had to prove it could successfully pass rigorous testing that included moving and recovering “suspect’ seven-kilogram packages over a distance of 100 metres, as well as cutting through luggage straps, bungee cords and six millimetre rope.

Using its own Predator Elite ROV system, Seatronics easily integrated Inuktun’s two-function manipulator arm to take on the task.

“Although new to the market, Inuktun’s manipulator immediately impressed us with its small footprint and simple but very impressive design,” said Seatronics’s Stuart Macrae.

Throughout the testing, both the manipulator and ROV received positive feedback from the operators, who found success at every turn.

“It survived some rough operations and inexperienced operators pushing it to the limits” said Macrae of the integrated unit. “Generally, we received some very positive feedback.”

Predator Elite ROV System

The test wasn’t without its challenges. A seven-kilogram object for any small ROV is a challenge, as the trim – or centre of gravity – is moved outward from the ROV, causing it to pitch nose-down, which in turn makes it hard to control, according to Macrae.

By modifying the tilt motor to mount the manipulator, operators were able to lift the object directly in front of the ROV, then rotate it under the ROV to maintain level and fly effortlessly to a safe location.

“It was very successful, “added Macrae, “Every department has shown interest in further trials and support from the Aberdeen base has been excellent.”

Being known for precision, however, means to never stop pursuing perfection.

Despite the success of the trials, Seatronics and Inuktun’s Aberdeen office have committed to developing the manipulator to further complement the Predator ROV system, focusing on simplifying of controls for new and experienced users.

For more on Seatronics, please visit www.seatronics-group.com.