C-Kore Systems, two-time winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, now offers a complete automated solution for subsea cable monitoring.
Subsea testing of electrical and optical assets has never been easier, faster and more accurate, thanks to a UK-based engineering company that has recently unveiled yet another trailblazing product.
C-Kore Systems launched its Topside Wireless Modem at Global Underwater Hub’s Subsea Expo Exhibition in Aberdeen earlier this year.
The innovative tool allows users to access test results in the onboard cabin in real time and see a consolidated view of a cable or umbilical’s health under the sea.
“This improves deck safety. It means you don’t need to have personnel climbing up umbilical reels and carousels on the back of the deck in bad weather to take readings of the cable’s integrity. You’re getting all that data to your laptop,” according to Jeremy Edwards, C-Kore Systems’ UK sales manager.
The wireless modem rounds out C-Kore’s revolutionary set of subsea test tools that provides contractors and operators with a complete automated solution for umbilical installation monitoring, fault-finding operations and de-commissioning.
C-Kore’s tools are unrivalled in the market, giving a complete and reliable record of cable/fibre integrity throughout the entire process.
The tools include a device called the Cable Monitor that continuously measures how good the insulation is around an electrical core (insulation resistance) and how well it is conducting electricity (continuity resistance).
Jeremy says: “The customer is likely going to ask for the highest possible test frequency. But you can’t test faster than the test routine takes to complete. I’d say around every 30 minutes would probably be the norm.”
Used in tandem with the cable monitor is the subsea TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer) which uses electrical pulses to precisely locate faults and discontinuities.
Jeremy explains: “If the pulses hit something – a connector or a splice in a cable joint, for example – that will send a reflection back. TDR gives a pattern of the reflected signals. A reflection could be an indication of a fault, like a break or localised water ingress. The time it takes for our pulse to get to that anomaly and get back to us gives us a very precise measure of how far away the anomaly is.
“If we know what speed the pulse travels, we can tell the client exactly how far that fault is.”
A similar device, the optical TDR, can test optical fibres using optical pulses.
There’s also a pressure monitor for multiplex control systems that have chemical lines and hydraulic services.
“Our tools enable our clients to comply with international standards: American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO).”
All of C-Kore’s tools are automatic and pre-configured. “Key to our business is configuring each tool so that it will connect to whatever interface our customer has on the seabed. There are so many varieties of connector that it’s better for our customer that we hold a big stock of connectors so we can build to order.”
The tools don’t require a specialist crew on the vessel and can be used straight out of the box, saving on cost and air miles. But C-Kore does provide training. “We do training with each and every tool, even though some of the contractors have used them multiple times. The training is delivered online and will generally take around two to two and a half hours.
“If the client wants to change the test routine in some way, we show the client exactly how to do that.”
For about a dozen years now, C-Kore has done well over 500 deployments in 60 subsea fields around the globe. It has worked for more than 40 customers, including the likes of Shell and BP, their suppliers and installation contractors.
While C-Kore is looking to expand to new markets like the renewable energy sector, it aims to keep doing what it does best.
Cynthia Pikaar, the company’s sales and marketing director says: “We are able to provide a complete service to our clients by helping them to write good sound test procedures for doing their work and analysing the data that they get from it. C-Kore really works hard building on personal relationships, delivering good service and getting the feedback as to how our tools were used.”
- For more information on C-Kore Systems, visit the C-Kore Systems website.