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Ashtead invests £1 million in latest iXblue technology

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

Global subsea equipment specialist, Ashtead Technology, has boosted its rental fleet with an investment of £1 million in the latest iXblue technology over the past 12 months.

iXblue is a global provider of innovative subsea solutions for navigation, positioning and imaging. Ashtead Technology is currently the only rental company to offer the iXblue GAPS-NG system with the new Telemetry capability, a high performance Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) positioning system for locating subsea assets. The company purchased two of the systems in January this year.


The system, similar to its predecessor GAPS, provides full hemisphere tracking, replaceable transducers and unrivalled deployment flexibility. It can provide precise positioning of any subsea object in the most demanding environments, including extremely shallow waters, where other systems commonly fail. With the new Telemetry capability the system can now also programme, command and calibrate compatible beacons on the seabed.


Ashtead’s extensive rental fleet also includes the addition of further iXblue RAMSES. By using synthetic ranges, rather than traditional LBL, and its SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) functionality inside, the system has proven to deliver faster, more accurate results in even the world’s most challenging seas. RAMSES can be used to track the position of subsea structures without the need for multiple transponders or umbilicals, enabling immediate and simplified mobilisation. Traditionally, achieving subsea accuracy required the deployment and calibration of subsurface equipment – an often lengthy and very costly process.  


Allan Pirie, chief executive of Ashtead said: “This investment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the global offshore market, by offering the latest, highly efficient technologies to support even the most complex projects worldwide. 


“We are determined to provide the most innovative solutions to the subsea market and building on our pool of iXblue equipment is as a direct result of listening to our customers’ requirements. We look forward to seeing them continue to enjoy the benefits.”


One of the latest additions to the Ashtead rental pool is iXblue’s PHINS 6K system, a high grade inertial navigation tool for providing positioning, heading, attitude, speed depth and heave data for deep water operations. Its high accuracy inferential measurement unit is based on iXblue’s fibre-optic gyroscope technology coupled with an embedded digital signal processor that runs an advanced Kalman filter.


Brook Rodger, Regional Sales Manager for iXblue commented: “RAMSES satisfies the performance requirements of complex offshore projects while reducing costs and increasing operational efficiencies.


“Phins also offers a variety of practical advantages. It has no moving parts or critical elements that deteriorate over time. Consequently, its reliability is high with no maintenance.


The increasing need for cost effective positioning accuracy in shallow water ensures GAPS NG with the new Telemetry function are increasing in ownership and utilisation.  They are compact and lightweight, and, unlike many other systems generally used, they do not require calibration, which results in vessel time saved. We are delighted Ashtead continue to increase its impressive asset pool with our latest technology” he concluded.

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