LBL Solutions

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Pierre-Yves Morvan

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iXblue LBL subsea positioning technology is a simple cost-efficient solution that provides highly performant subsea positioning and monitoring capabilities down to 4,000m. Bringing together Canopus intelligent transponders, Ramses transceivers, Inertial Navigation Systems and Delph Subsea Positioning Software, it offers advanced sparse LBL capabilities that allow operators to reduce the number of transponders deployed on the seabed with no compromise on performance.

Powering advanced LBL capabilities

High performance

 

iXblue’s 6,000m depth rated LBL positioning solution comprises the Canopus transponders and Ramses transceivers. This absolute subsea positioning system enables highly accurate and reliable deep-sea operations by providing operators with centimetric positioning accuracy in water depths up to 6,000m.

  Ramses Ramses Canopus Canopus
Depth rating 4,000 4,000
Accuracy (mm) < 10 < 10
Autonomy (pings at max sound level) n/a 2,800 000 (alkaline)
Transducer beam shape Omnidirectional Omnidirectional
Acoustic communication 500 bps / 3kbps 500 bps / 3kbps
Data logging (Gb) 32 32
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  Ramses Ramses Canopus Canopus
Depth rating 4,000 4,000
Accuracy (mm) < 10 < 10
Autonomy (pings at max sound level) n/a 2,800 000 (alkaline)
Transducer beam shape Omnidirectional Omnidirectional
Acoustic communication 500 bps / 3kbps 500 bps / 3kbps
Data logging (Gb) 32 32
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Sparse-LBL: reduced transponders for higher accuracy

When coupled with inertial navigation systems (INS), the use of iXblue Ramses transceiver offers even greater accuracy and reliability thanks to the tight coupling of acoustic and inertial technologies. This is iXblue concept of “Sparse-LBL”, that powers cost-efficient subsea operations by reducing the number of transponders deployed on the seabed, thus decreasing the time spent on transponder deployment, calibration and maintenance.

 

 

The following table gives the performance that can be reached depending on the number of transponders used:

Learn more about Sparse-LBL

Robust acoustic communication

In addition to the precise positioning of subsea assets, most subsea applications require robust acoustic communication links to be established between the surface, the subsea vehicles, and the deployed transponders. iXblue transceivers thus offer two different communication modes:

  • Telemetry

A robust and low bit rate acoustic communication link at 500 b/s that can be used during tracking operations. Telemetry allows for AUV control/command.

  • Modem

A high bit rate acoustic communication link at 3 kb/s that allows end users to recover measurements that have been logged by the Canopus transponder over long periods of time.

It is worth noting that, thanks to its hundreds of acoustic codes for interrogation and reply, iXblue Canopus transponders can be used in the most complex environments without any acoustic interferences, ensuring highly reliable subsea operations.

Embedded Environmental Sensors

On top of featuring underwater acoustic communication between transponders and transceivers, Canopus and Ramses embed their own environmental temperature, pressure and inclinometer sensors. Canopus transponders can further be enhanced with other optional sensors such as Digiquartz depth sensor, sound velocity sensor or other external sensors for increased operational efficiency.

While able to send all recording to the surface in real-time thanks to a robust and reliable acoustic link, both Canopus transponder and Ramses transceiver offer a data logging feature that allows the recording of internal or external sensors on the beacon internal memory for more occasional data retrieval.

Multiple operating modes

Operating the Canopus and Ramses LBL solution on subsea operations will give operators greater flexibility thanks to multiple operating mode capabilities. This unique feature brough by iXblue solution allows users to adapt their LBL operation procedures to the level of performance required for each of their application.

Calibration

  • Time travel acquisition during box-in process
  • Baselines acquisition during mutual calibration process
  • SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) – Simultaneous vehicle positioning and fixed-transponders calibration

Positioning

  • LBL
    Positioning of the transceiver or positioning of a mobile transponder in an array of 3
    transponders (min)
  • LBL/INS
    A more robust positioning solution than LBL thanks to data redundancy
  • Sparse LBL
    Reduced number of transponders deployed (1 min)

Monitoring

  • Real time monitoring of transponders internal/external sensor
  • Download of data recorded by the transponder over long periods of time

Disruptive calibration techniques

Thanks to their advanced features combining the best of acoustic and inertial technologies, the Canopus transponders can be calibrated using either traditional or novel time-efficient methods, including:

  • USBL tracking
  • Surface box-in
  • Baseline calibration and LMS adjustment
  • SLAM technique
  • ROV box-in

Drastically reducing box-in time using ROVs

ROV box-in in particular offers significant installation vessel time savings compared to conventional subsea positioning methods. A recent project conducted in ultra-deep water with iXblue LBL solution recently demonstrated that ROV box-in, performed closer to the transponders, thus enabling smaller circles to be performed, could reduce box-in time from 3 hours to a short 30mn when conducted in 3000m water depths.

Unrivaled operating life

Low power consumption

 

With their extremely low power consumption, the Canopus LBL transponder and Ramses LBL transceiver offer unrivalled battery life. A standard Alkaline battery pack will provide up to 70 months or 1,600,000 pings of battery life in listening mode, while a Lithium battery will ensure up to 140 months of battery life or 2,800,000 pings for long duration subsea operations.

 

An intelligent ping management system

An intelligent ping management feature further extends the LBL solution’s battery life, greatly reducing, if not eliminating, beacon maintenance requirements for subsea projects. iXblue’s coupling between acoustic and inertial technologies indeed reduces transponders interrogation rate compared to traditional LBL systems, with which transponders are simultaneously interrogated every few seconds.

 

Corrosion-free beacons

The Canopus transponders and Ramses transceivers are highly reliable equipment able to endure the harsh conditions of subsea environments. Fitted with a cathodic protection (anodes located on the upper and lower parts of the transponders) they are resistant to corrosion and can be deployed at sea for long duration operations.

A user friendly LBL solution

A third-party friendly positioning solution

The Canopus LBL transponders and Ramses LBL transceivers offer inter-beacon and inter-product acoustic communication and are compatible with all major third-party acoustic positioning solutions used on the market. This makes them easy to add on existing fields of operation and existing pool of equipment.

 

An efficient Supervision Software Suite

To manage the increasing complexity of subsea operations and to offer a solution that is easy to deploy and use, iXblue developed a global supervision software that integrates the full range of iXblue subsea systems: Delph Subsea Positioning Software. An intuitive and dynamic software used to plan, operate and post-process iXblue subsea positioning products, Delph Subsea Positioning (Delph SP) simplifies the planning, simulation, operation and post- processing of subsea positioning tasks. Comprising three intuitive and user-friendly core modules, Delph SP is an easy-to-use yet powerful tool enabling even the most complex subsea operations by making each step of the subsea positioning operation simpler, error-free and faster, saving vessel and man time.

Learn more about Delph Subsea Positioning

Remotely controlled operations

iXblue solutions being based on web technologies, the whole Canopus, Ramses and Delph Positioning Software ecosystem can be remotely controlled using a low bandwidth satellite communication link.

A “remote access kit” gives surveyors and support engineers remote control over the whole solution by directly accessing the devices IP addresses. A solution that, contrary to simple screen sharing or remote desktop access, requires less data to be transferred over the satellite communication link.

Dedicated training courses

Striving to bring the best user experience possible and help operators make the most of their subsea positioning solutions, iXblue offers various trainings, both online and within its own training center in Aberdeen.

E-learning trainings available online cover topics such as:

  • Introduction to subsea INS and acoustic positioning principles
  • Equipment description
  • Hands-on training using DSP on existing data sets

A LBL solution covering all applications

The Canopus and Ramses LBL solutions, along with iXblue subsea INS, are being operated worldwide for diverse applications in the energy, geoscience, marine civil engineering and defense markets.
Applications include:

  • ROV positioning
  • AUV navigation
  • Metrology
  • Underwater geodesy and seismics
  • Environnemental monitoring
  • Structure monitoring
  • Structure placement
  • Subsea construction
  • Drilling
  • Mining (crawler positioning)
  • Hull inspection
  • Mine counter measures (MCM)

News & Customer Stories

Downloads

Ramses LBL Transceiver – Datasheet

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Canopus LBL Transponder – Datasheet

(205 KB)
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Brochure Subsea positioning

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