has agreed to support Feritech Global
, a marine engineering specialist based in Falmouth, with its plan to create the world’s first autonomous subsea vehicle specially designed for geotechnical survey work. Such a design would result in safer, more-efficient and more cost-effective seabed survey operations.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is a pioneering project designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through R&D and innovation. It is a collaboration between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
Feritech Global carries out geotechnical survey work for marine industry clients around the world, using specialist equipment designed and operated by its own team.
Feritech’s managing director Rob Ferris said: “Globally, offshore assets require an increasing number of detailed subsea surveys, which often have to be carried out in extremely challenging sea conditions. This is particularly true for the growing floating offshore wind sector, where installation has to take place in very deep waters.
“Using autonomous vessels to carry out geophysical survey work is an area that is already gaining traction. We now want to design an autonomous solution for geotechnical surveys. Such a vessel would need to be large in size to accommodate equipment for taking core samples of the seabed and for carrying out activities such as cone penetration testing and heat-flow testing. Once developed, this new solution would have a global impact in reducing the risks and costs associated with seabed surveys.”Pre-commercialisation prototype for sea trials
Feritech engaged with the Marine-i project to get expert help in researching and designing the new vehicle. Marine-i and Feritech are collaborating on a structured development programme to define the industry standards that the new vehicle must meet, specify the tool requirements, and create a design solution. This will result in the construction of a pre-commercialisation prototype for sea trials.
Professor Lars Johanning, Marine-i programme director, said: “This is exactly the kind of innovative, disruptive technology that Marine-i was set up to support. Feritech’s concept could revolutionise the way in which geotechnical survey work is carried out.
”By helping reduce risk and costs for developers, it will help accelerate the growth of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, generating a positive economic impact on the local supply chain. Globally, it would attract interest from clients in a wide range of offshore activities. It is another great example of how Cornish businesses are spearheading new, ground-breaking solutions in marine technology.”
In June 2021, Feritech plans to open a new, purpose-built advanced manufacturing centre in Cornwall, which will be one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK. This ‘state of the art’ facility will combine R&D, design, assembly, fabrication, precision engineering, hydraulics, electrical, software and electronics capabilities. It will also give Feritech tight management control of complex projects from start to finish, offering a complete solution for global customers — all under one roof.