Exail as top choice for underwater equipment rental companies

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Exail had record years in 2022 and 2023 in the rental market, securing multiple contracts with rental companies globally. With the objective of providing their customers with efficient and dependable technology to meet the diverse requirements of their operations, rental companies are increasingly turning to Exail’s comprehensive range of high-end subsea navigation and positioning solutions, renowned for their reliability and state-of-the-art technology. The past two years have been a major vote of confidence for Exail’s navigation technology, strengthening the company’s position as a leader in the subsea navigation field and opening the door to continued success.

Exail’s reputation and dependable solutions inspire confidence in forming enduring partnerships

Exail is a well-established and reputable company providing subsea navigation, positioning, and imaging solutions to global maritime operators. Its reputation for delivering high-quality and reliable equipment gives rental companies the confidence to offer their clients the best solutions. Therefore, partnering with companies like Exail is often part of their strategic focus.

One such company is Ashtead Technology, a leading international subsea equipment rental and solutions provider for the global offshore energy sector. Since 2022, Ashtead Technology has invested significantly in Exail navigation and subsea positioning technologies, including the Gaps M5 USBL acoustic positioning system, Octans Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS), in addition to Phins Surface, Rovins Nano and Rovins Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). These systems are now available to rent from the company’s nine international technology and service hubs.

Ashtead Technology takes delivery of Exail subsea system.

According to Brett Lestrange, Ashtead Technology’s Regional Director for Europe “with over 17,000 assets in our subsea equipment rental fleet, we offer one of the largest pools of subsea navigation and positioning systems for rent worldwide. This latest investment in Exail equipment is a direct result of listening to our customers’ requirements and ensuring we have the broadest and most technologically advanced subsea equipment from leading manufacturers to support our customers’ projects worldwide.” In 2022, Ashtead Technology invested more than £7 million in new subsea equipment and technology to expand its rental fleet, further strengthening both its position in the offshore energy subsea equipment rental sector and its long-term partnership with Exail.

Subsea Technology & Rentals (STR) is another UK-based rental company that strives to offer an extensive inventory of marine and subsea technology from leading manufacturers to their customers worldwide. STR has a longstanding partnership with Exail and has been consistently investing in its latest marine technology to deliver superior solutions to its customers. Recently, STR acquired Exail’s Rovins and Rovins Nano INS, as well as the Gaps M5 USBL system, bolstering its significant investment in subsea navigation technologies. These new systems are now included in their global rental pool, which can be accessed through their five international service hubs. By providing these advanced subsea solutions, STR enables their customers to gather highly precise and dependable subsea navigation and positioning data, facilitating offshore operations even in the most demanding environments. “As a global leader whose proven technology is recognized worldwide within our industry, their systems are great assets to have and they’ve always met our customer’s requirements” said STR’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Johnstone. This investment is set to enable the UK subsea rental equipment provider to further expand its geographical reach, with the Americas, mainland Europe, and Southeast Asia being a key focus, supporting the expanding wind energy market.

In addition, a project to supply Canopus transponders for an operation in Australia at the end of 2023 is currently being studied with STR. Part of Exail’s sparse LBL solution, Canopus intelligent transponders work with Ramses transceivers, INS, and Delph Subsea Positioning software to achieve highly accurate subsea positioning and monitoring capabilities down to 4,000 m. These advanced solutions enable operators to perform deep-sea operations with centimetric positioning accuracy.


Exail Canopus transponders being deployed during a sparse positioning operation off the coast of Africa.

Meeting customers’ demands with the best subsea navigation and positioning technologies available

Subsea equipment rental companies aim to understand their customers’ needs and furnish them with cutting-edge technology and equipment, guaranteeing that all their subsea operations can be accomplished with optimal efficiency, precision, and safety.

Unique Group, a global innovator in subsea technologies and integrated engineering solutions across renewables, oil and gas, and defense industries, has worked in partnership with Exail for decades. In 2022, the company placed significant orders with Exail as part of Unique Group’s strategy to enhance its asset portfolio. This includes several units of Gaps M5, Octans Surface, Octans Subsea, and Octans Nano AHRS, as well as Rovins INS, and Oceano HD15 Cable Lay acoustic releases which are now located across Unique Group’s global rental pool. This equipment will enable the company’s clients to carry out their offshore operations with a complete range of products suitable for both shallow and deep-water environments. The Gaps M5 systems recently purchased reflect the strong demand for this high-precision and reliable positioning equipment.

Exail Octans Nano, an AHRS widely acclaimed by leading rental companies to meet the needs of ROV manufacturers and operators.

Indeed, with exceptional horizontal tracking capabilities, Gaps M5 is especially well-suited for shallow water operations up to a maximum depth of 995 m, making it an ideal solution for Unique’s customers operating in the shallow waters of the Arabian Gulf or in worldwide coastal areas. Last but not least, Gaps M5 does not require an exportation license, making it free of export restrictions for fast and easy shipment. To complete their large fleet of Gaps systems, in early 2023, Unique Group ordered multiple Oceano MT9 beacons, which can be operated at various water depths, up to 3,000 m, and are compatible with most third-party equipment.

Unique Group also increased its pool of Exail Oceano Acoustic Releases with the addition of several Oceano HD 15 Cable Lay acoustic releases, capable of deploying and retrieving loads up to 10 t (15 t SWL). Highly reliable, these acoustic releases will be a great asset for Unique Group’s customers for conducting their cable laying and maintenance as well as offshore marine construction operations efficiently.

Chris Blake, Vice President – Survey at Unique Group, said: “We are thrilled to further strengthen our partnership with Exail as we expand our fleet of high-precision positioning equipment. The acquisition of Gaps M5 systems and Oceano MT9 beacons, as well as the addition of Oceano HD 15 Cable Lay, demonstrates our commitment to providing our customers with the best solutions for their shallow water and offshore marine operations. And as we navigate the thriving energy sector in 2023, we look forward to working closely with Exail to meet the evolving needs of our clients”.

In early 2023, Rental Technology & Services (RTS), a leading rental equipment provider for the subsea industry, added Exail’s Gaps M5 USBL acoustic positioning system to its rental pool of equipment, as part of its commitment to offering the latest and most innovative solutions to customers from its newly established UK offices. According to Dale Townend, UK Technical Manager at RTS “by bringing the Gaps M5 USBL system to our UK office, we are once again looking to respond to what we know our customers are demanding. This investment […] represents a valuable addition of assets that we haven’t previously held in our rental pool. We are excited to now have access to these advanced systems going forward, continuing our close relationship with Exail, and supporting our customers’ project requirements for accuracy and efficiency on a global scale”.

Indeed, the Gaps M5 is a powerful USBL positioning system that uses high-performance acoustic technology to accurately track underwater objects, with a wide 200° opening angle and outstanding vertical and horizontal tracking capabilities. This addition will thus allow RTS customers to perform all offshore operations in shallow water, including the installation of wind platforms, with greater accuracy, efficiency, and reliability, while reducing their operating costs.

In 2022, Oceanscan, a rental marine equipment provider, acquired Exail’s Gaps M5 USBL positioning system, Octans Subsea and Octans Nano AHRS as well as Rovins and Phins Subsea INS. These products, which are part of a reliable line of subsea inertial navigation and positioning solutions, are crucial for effectively navigating ROVs and ensuring their correct positioning for various tasks. Widely considered to be the most efficient systems available, Exail’s AHRS and INS provide very accurate real-time ROV positioning, heading, and attitude measurements in all sea conditions, including shallow water, deep water, and rough sea conditions. Their robustness and ability to withstand harsh subsea conditions make them suitable for use in the most challenging environments. Additionally, the systems’ compatibility with various software and equipment, and ease of integration with existing ROV systems contribute to improving ROV navigation efficiency and reliability, ultimately resulting in reduced task completion time and cost.

By incorporating Exail’s navigation and positioning systems into their rental fleet, Oceanscan offers their customers very effective and high-precision solutions with advanced navigation and motion-sensing capabilities for a variety of subsea operations, including subsea construction, hydrographic and geophysical surveys, Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) of subsea assets, and pipeline and cable laying.

After a strong 2022 and a successful first semester in 2023, Exail has positioned itself to effectively address the needs of the rental market. Leveraging a vertically integrated supply chain, Exail consistently delivers high-quality and robust systems while safeguarding against the supply chain challenges encountered by other manufacturers in the market. With an exciting product roadmap ahead, Exail is committed to providing best-in-class technology to the rental market.