SMD Enhances Prysmian’s Trencher

SMD-upgraded remotely operated vehicle has completed its first round of projects burying offshore power cables.

The Seamole (previously Excalibur) trenching vehicle was originally built by Tyneside-based subsea engineering specialist Soil Machine Dynamics in 2000 for use in the telecommunications industry.

Now, after an upgrade and modernisation programme, it has been deployed by Prysmian Powerlink Services – a branch of the Prysmian Group – on long interconnector projects and various major offshore windfarms.

After completion of the upgrade Seamole boasts 200kW of increased jetting capability within the limits of the 900kW installed power. Innovative engineering approaches means this jetting power can be deployed in high or low pressure jet modes to make Seamole capable of the depth of cable burial required in the offshore power industry. This depth is now achievable in a wide range of seabed strengths including strong cohesive soils. This upgrade builds upon previous improvements including Variable Speed motor control to tune and optimise the trenching tool performance.

Graham Puntis, managing director of SMD Services, said: “Building on the quality and integrity of the vehicle’s original specification we were able to complete a number of modifications that have extended Seamole’s service life beyond the 17-year history it already has. The upgrades we have completed enable the vehicle to be deployed in the even more operationally demanding offshore power industry.

“Prysmian Powerlink Services is a long-standing and valued customer of SMD and our respective technical teams worked closely to establish the precise requirements for the upgraded vehicle. I’m delighted this collaboration has seen our customer gain a significant competitive edge meaning it will no longer need to sub-contract the burial of the majority of power cables and can rely instead on its own bespoke vehicle.”