Typically, wind farm sites are located in relatively shallow, high current, areas while offshore oil & gas fields are both shallow and deep waters. Everywhere offshore is susceptible to windy and rough waters, with a limited or seasonal weather window for installation and maintenance. Weather downtime caused by adverse conditions can run as high as 40% at the height of the good season! These challenging environments can bring a project to a standstill – until they improve. Being able to expand the operational weather window has huge implications to the project’s bottom line. Holding up an expensive ship and crew operation because of vehicle limitations can cause expensive delays. If these delays add up, they can domino to other even more expensive vessel activity in the broader schedule.
Tracks: Sea bottom conditions can even vary within the space of a project. Though some ROV’s are made to free fly by adding buoyancy, trenchers can actually benefit from negative buoyancy that counteracts the jetting forces used to cut into the sea floor. Large capable tracks will allow the trencher to traverse undersea terrain ranging from softer muddy bottoms to steep inclines, as well as being better able to negotiate obstacles.
Alternatively, trackless ploughs use sleds can have a tendency to “run away” when aimed down a seabed incline. As the seabed gets harder, ploughs are also increasingly difficult to steer. It becomes critical to manage any sea floor slope and maneuver around problematic bottom terrain.
The ideal offshore wind farm inter array cable burial vehicle is a powerful tracked vehicle that can be maneuvered even during high currents. A low and wide profile aids in stability and can allow the vehicle to continue to work longer in adverse tidal or current flows.