Scots company launches new ‘as low as you can go’ subsea torch and diver umbilical line for oil, gas and renewables market

The new PhotoSynergy diving ubilical torch in action
The new PhotoSynergy diving umbilical torch in action

A new LED diver-safety light and extendable line – for up to ‘as low as you can go’ – has been launched by a Scottish research and development company – PhotoSynergy Ltd (PSL).

Photosynergy is a spin-out company from St Andrews’ Univeresity, with innovation at its core. Its team of experienced physicists and engineers’ extensive background and experience has been gained in the research and development of leading edge technology and product creation, and has been working on the LIGHTPATH technology for the last five years.

Its LIGHTPATH ‘’torch’ 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.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.

An experienced N. Sea diver commented: “Looks good to me, I use strobes on my arm or legs when I’m at 40m. I like this idea, though.

PSL Director Don Walker said: “The recognition of the increased safety afforded to divers utilising the LIGHTPATH umbilical lighting concept by these companies marks a significant step for PSL, and we very much appreciate their support.

“We are very grateful for all the help and guidance we have received over the past few years from Harkand and Bibby Offshore – the level of support they have shown has been invaluable and helped us develop LIGHTPATH further for more specific markets.

“In addition, there is a huge opportunity to develop LIGHTPATH technology for use on wind turbines and in the renewable sector.

PSL, in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise and BVG Associates, undertook an offshore wind farm lighting analysis of the applications of LIGHTPATH within offshore wind turbines for both ship personnel transfer access and interior lighting of both the tower and the nacelle.”

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 group diving manager, and a member of the IMCA diving division management committee, said: “Harkand is committed to the wellbeing of its personnel and presenting the most appropriate solutions for clients. As a company we have recognised that although not a mandatory or industry specific requirement, LIGHTPATH further enhances 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. We have found that LIGHTPATH helps 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 ensures divers and ROV pilots can constantly monitor that the umbilical is clear during equipment deployment and recovery, which are generally high risk activities.

“We look forward to working further with PSL in the future.”

Meanwhile, Bibby Offshore, which has 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: “Bibby Offshore regard the LIGHTPATH as a significant safety enhancement and use it as standard on all our DSVs.  We are pleased to be involved in the further development of the LIGHTPATH system and believe the SLS2000 will further enhance the usefulness of the product and increase its potential applications.”

 

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