Sonardyne International has again raised the bar for subsea technology with the launch of its 6G® (6th Generation) product range at the Oceanology International 2010 exhibition in London (Stand No G300).

The new 6G® products consist of a matrix of acoustic positioning, inertial navigation and wireless communication technology to produce innovative subsea solutions for a wide range of subsea operations. With the arrival of 6G®, Sonardyne has also advanced its extremely successful Wideband signal architecture to Wideband 2, offering significantly improved ranging and telemetry performance. This makes systems faster, easier to set up and operate and more robust even in the most challenging subsea operating environments. These features will improve the efficiency of field development projects, reduce vessel time and generate cost savings for owners. The flexibility offered by 6G® hardware is applicable to all subsea positioning tasks from simple to complex.

Central to the new products in the 6G® range is the multi-mode Compatt 6 subsea transponder. Utilising Sonardyne Wideband® 2 ultra-wide bandwidth signals, the versatility of Compatt 6 exceeds previous models, allowing a wider range of applications than a conventional seabed positioning transponder, Over the last 12 months the technology has been thoroughly tested and approved in specialist subsea monitoring applications with a major oil company. Programmed to operate autonomously, without ROV or vessel control, acoustic ranges and sensor data can be acquired at specific intervals and logged internally. This is then recovered via the continuous acoustic telemetry capability, another new benefit of Sonardyne Wideband® 2 signal architecture. Compatt 6, used as pure data modem, will deliver robust performance even in difficult long shallow channels or in reverberant offshore environments.

Mechanically, Compatt 6 is almost identical to the successful Compatt 5 providing users with the reassurance of a proven, rugged platform. Crucially, this allows existing owners of Compatt 5 transponders to upgrade to the new digital-only 6G® platform by replacing just the internal hardware components of the transponder.

6G® systems are designed to maximise performance by more efficient and extended vessel and ROV operations. However, the full benefits of 6G® technology can only be realised by using exclusively 6G® transponders, transceivers and software. Present systems are still being produced alongside 6G® and upgrade paths are now available from Sonardyne to extend their life.

Another variant of Compatt 6 technology being unveiled at Oceanology is Fetch; a small, low-cost wireless instrument designed to freefall to the seabed and autonomously log sensor data over extended periods.

With 6G®, wireless aided inertial navigation also now becomes achievable. For example, structures can be positioned using Sonardyne’s Lodestar inertial sensor, aided by 6G® USBL and LBL acoustic systems. This integration delivers smoothed, high precision, high update rate positioning with attitude, heave, surge and sway of the structure as it descends and lands. The Lodestar GyroCompatt 6 offers this capability in a single subsea housing complete with internal, rechargeable battery pack.

The complete list of Sonardyne 6G® products being presented at Oceanology is:

  • Compatt 6 transponder
  • ROVNav 6 transceiver
  • Remote Sensor Pack
  • Av-Trak 6 AUV transceiver
  • HPT vessel USBL transceiver
  • Lodestar GyroCompatt 6
  • Fetch Autonomous Sensor Logging Node
  • Wideband Mini-Transponder (WMT)
  • Fusion 6G® software
  • Marksman LUSBL software
  • Ranger 2 USBL
  • The development of Sonardyne Wideband® 2 and launch of the 6G® product range is being presented as a major evolution in acoustic signal processing and inertial technology. Offering more robust performance, simpler user operability, greater functionality, equipment flexibility and close coupling to inertial technologies, Sonardyne is confident that 6G® will have a major impact upon all aspects of offshore activities by maximising operational efficiencies, reducing training requirements and minimising vessel and project costs.