New Waveblade subsea pipe maintenance tool successfully tested at Fort William Underwater Centre


A diver demonstrates the Waveblade tool
A diver demonstrates the Waveblade tool

A new hand-held maintenance tool for removing unwanted marine growth from under water pipes and cables has successfully passed a commercial trial at The Underwater Centre at Fort William.

Commercial divers and ROV pilot technicians recently trialled the ‘Waveblade’ while working in Loch Linnhe, simulating a realistic operational environment.

Waveblade is a lightweight, hand-held submersible power tool designed to remove marine growth through vibration, without harming underlying surfaces.

Waveblade’s patented technology delivers high frequency resonance through its oscillating head, sending multi-directional vibration through the blade into the unwanted marine growth. The wave power has been shown to remove organic growth more thoroughly in a fraction of the time without damaging surfaces compared to current methods such as scrapers and high pressure water jetting.

The tool has been developed to be used as a hand tool for divers and also as a separate tool to be fitted to the arm of an ROV.

James Hall, Chairman of Waveblade, said that the first trial at The Underwater Centre had gone exceptionally well, adding:

“Waveblade is very different from anything else on the market.  During the trial, it worked brilliantly for the divers and ROV pilots, and the results were very much what we had hoped for.

“The Underwater Centre was the ideal location for such a trial; we were able to sit in the control centre and interact with the team which was trying it out.”

Steve Ham, General Manager of The Underwater Centre, said that trialling new subsea equipment is an important part of what the Centre does.

“It’s always very gratifying to be able to assist companies such as Waveblade, which are at the forefront of technology development for the oil and gas sector,” he said.

“Key industry figures have spoken recently about the importance of developing new technologies more quickly, but in a cost effective way; the facilities we have on offer at the Centre help achieve this by providing an alternative to having to test offshore.”

The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of a seawater lake, Loch Linnhe, well sheltered by the surrounding mountains but with access to depths of more than 100 yards.

This location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in an open-water environment, while still being centrally located in the largest town in the Scottish Highlands. 

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