PART I:Teledyne Marine Sensors & Systems
Wrapping your arms around the subsea behemoth that is known as “Teledyne” starts at the top of each group, and the man sitting on top of the Marine Sensors and Systems Group is Bill Kikendall, overseeing a collection of 12 companies starting with Teledyne legacy company Geophysical Instruments and including recent acquisitions such as Oceanscience, Bowtech and SeaBotix.
From sensors and seismic systems to geophysical to navigation to subsea vehicles, the Marine Sensors and Systems Group is a broad based group of capabilities backed by the signature Teledyne corporate support.
With a diversity of product, systems and services the Marine Sensors and Systems group serves a similarly broad swath of markets, and Kikendall classifies markets served as such:
• Natural Resources
• Security and Safety
• Ocean Science, and
“This is a very high level, macro perspective and we try to look at the trends that may drive our businesses,” said Kikendall. As an example, he cites the ever evolving Transportation Infrastructure market, and specifically the changing consumer patterns and trends globally that mandate, for instance, dredging and other port and harbor construction projects that demand support products, systems and services from his group, and for that matter, the entire Teledyne portfolio.
Diversity of markets served helps the Teledyne Marine Sensors and Systems Group power ahead steadily in times good and bad. Assessing ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ is an ongoing challenge in the deployment of valuable resources.
“Certainly energy is very soft at the moment, and when I say ‘soft energy spending’ I mean primarily oil and gas,” said Kikendall – renewables are seeing steady growth. “The question is ‘when will Oil and Gas spending recover,’ and to determine the residual effects to our other markets.”
While the low price of oil has been a drag in many respects, Kikendall said there are certainly areas that are strong and growing at the moment, namely defense, marine surveillance, and natural resources.
“Within natural resources, we support a lot of inland activity in inland water flow and discharge management,” said Kikendall. “With water becoming such a precious commodity on a global basis, the ability to precisely understand the watersheds and how they recharge the aquifers, for example, or to precisely know how we can lower waste and make sure we efficiently deliver this precious resource becomes increasingly critical.”
In its march to expand, Teledyne Marine Sensors and Systems Group has built a virtual ‘fleet’ of diverse underwater vehicle types, from ROVs to AUVS to gliders.
“In regards to autonomous vehicles: as we are able to lower the price points and increase the capabilities, complexity and duration for marine vehicles of a wide variety, that market looks pretty positive for us,” summarized Kikendall.
In fact, he points to underwater vehicles in general as one of the defining, leading technologies that has worked to advance the overall subsea industry during his career.
“I think underwater vehicles in general (have been a driver) and for us I would say the modular approach is key, so that a single vehicle – whether it’s a glider, a float, an AUV or an ROV – can be configured to serve many different applications.”
Multi-tasking, smaller vehicles have enabled companies in general to collect more and better data at a lower price point, driving further use of subsea products and systems.
“So, these vehicles allow much more data to be collected at a much lower price point, and by doing that, essentially, what we do is we increase society’s understanding of the marine environment,” said Kikendall. “Presumably, when we make decisions, as a society, that impact our environment (and consequently the environment’s impact upon us) we do it in a more informed quantitative way. As we increase our sampling of the ocean environment we position ourselves to make better decisions.”
The Impact of Oil
It is impossible to have a discussion on the subsea industry without a constructive analysis of the prolonged low price of oil, and the residual impact across the maritime sector. While Teledyne Marine Sensors and Systems Group is diversified, the energy issue is a big one.
“For us the impact is most dramatic in our seismic exploration products businesses and in our work class ROV support business,” said Kikendall. “They have softened substantially. And while this does not necessarily reflect our level of business, some of those markets are running at 20 or 25 percent capital spend or lower compared to what they had been in the prior years.”
Coming off what Kikendall describes as a “phenomenally strong” five to six year run in offshore oil and gas, the last year has been soft and past six-months been sobering, but also instructive in building a stronger group, a stronger company, moving forward. “Our business planning is based on forecasts and outlooks and as is the case for any business, we have to adjust to those market conditions. And we certainly recognize that those markets are very difficult at the moment,” said Kikendall. “For us, it’s ever more important to develop products that help our customers achieve their objectives in the most efficient ways possible so that they can perform in these (tough) market conditions.”
“It is always important for us to identify and bring to market new technologies that are efficient and cost efficient. Our goal is to develop and introduce products (instruments and platforms) that allow our customers to collect more, high quality data, in a more cost effective manner.”
The Power of the Corporation
The growth of Teledyne has been well documented, and while each of the Groups has its own focus and strengths, it is the power of the whole that is ultimately considered a ‘game changer’ in the subsea space.
“I believe (our strength is) our range of offerings or products as well as people. It’s our representative network. It’s our reputation. And really it’s some of the unique resources that Teledyne as a corporation has,” said Kikendall.
When discussing the company’s unique resources, he pointed out three specifically that he sees as instrumental towards enhancing the solutions package:
• The Teledyne Science Center on the West Coast, which formally was part of the Rockwell Corporation’s Research Center, staffed with a number of PhDs that are conducting applied research, providing science-based solutions to a wide variety of our products.
• Teledyne Brown Engineering, which is a large systems engineering and program management business, which, for example, manage a big Navy program. “Teledyne Brown Engineering provides a great internal partner for some of those bigger programs.”
• Teledyne Dalsa in Canada, with an expertise in MEMS. “It is potentially a great partner for us as we look at MEMS-based sensor technologies in the future and how those might apply into our various business units.”
Teledyne Marine Systems
Teledyne Marine Systems enables customer optimized data collection with the most comprehensive and innovative suite of undersea vehicles and infrastructure available. The portfolio includes low logistics high performance unmanned marine vehicles, sensor agnostic towed systems, undersea positioning and telemetry, and deep sea infrastructure.
The Teledyne Marine Systems group includes Teledyne Benthos, Teledyne Gavia, Teledyne SeaBotix, and Teledyne Webb Research, all with rich histories in the marine industry. Teledyne Marine Systems product lines draw upon shared leadership in engineering and manufacturing and a coordinated sales team that connects modems to gliders and more. Four strategic business units come together as an integrated provider of advanced undersea systems.
• Teledyne Benthos
Located in North Falmouth, Massachusetts, Teledyne Benthos is an industry leader with a history of over 50 years of innovation in marine technology. Benthos designs and manufactures rugged, reliable oceanographic instrumentation and infrastructure for marine environments. Teledyne Benthos products include: acoustic releases, acoustic telemetry modems, positioning systems, hydrophones, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), glass flotation spheres and instrument housings, and locating devices. These tools provide the building blocks of ocean observing systems for diverse users. Benthos technologies were part of the discovery of the RMS Titanic, contribute to astrophysical observatories and provide access to the deepest ocean depths.
• Teledyne Gavia
Located in Kopavogur, Iceland, Teledyne Gavia provides turnkey survey solutions to customers undertaking a variety of tasks for defense, commercial and scientific applications. The Gavia Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) can carry an array of sensors and custom payload modules that make it well suited for any research, monitoring or surveillance task where autonomy, cost and ease of deployment matters. Its modular design allows for rapid sensor reconfiguration and battery replacement. While compact and “low logistics” the Gavia is also extremely capable, rated to 1000 meters depth and proven with a variety of sensor systems. As an Icelandic technology and compatible with sensors from other international sources the Gavia AUV is widely exportable and the chosen low logistics AUV of commercial survey firms operating around the world.
• Teledyne SeaBotix
Based in San Diego, California, the newest member of the group, Teledyne SeaBotix, is a manufacturer of a suite of underwater observation class MiniROVs designed to perform a multitude of tasks, such as: maritime security, search and recovery, hull and pipeline inspection, hazardous environment intervention, aquaculture, sensor deployment, oceanographic research, and more. SeaBotix continues to deliver revolutionary advancements to a diverse suite of MiniROV systems that are responsive to demanding professional applications.
• Teledyne Webb Research
Co-located with Benthos in North Falmouth, Massachusetts, Teledyne Webb Research has been serving oceanographic research, commercial, and government customers for over 30 years. Webb Research designs and manufactures scientific instruments for oceanographic research and monitoring with a focus on extended observations over both time and space. Teledyne Webb Research specializes in three areas of ocean instrumentation: Neutrally buoyant, autonomous drifters and profilers, autonomous underwater gliding vehicles, and moored underwater sound sources. These systems are core to several major ocean monitoring programs including the international Argo array, the National Science Foundation Ocean Observatories Initiative and the US Navy Littoral Battlespace Sensing – Glider (LBS-G) program of record. A Webb Research Slocum glider, the Scarlet Knight, was the first unmanned vehicle to cross an ocean.
Teledyne Marine Sensors
The Teledyne Marine Sensors group is comprised of the largest number of Teledyne Marine companies. These organizations are committed to delivering highly innovative sensors and seismic solutions for a wide array of surface and subsea applications. The companies within this group offer a variety of highly innovative, field proven sensors designed to collect critical data for academic, commercial and defense applications. These solutions span a wide range of technologies from camera and LED lights for Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to highly intricate precision navigation aiding systems, motion sensors, pipe and cable tracking, current profiling devices, and CTD sensors. Each of these tools can be used as stand-alone solutions or can be integrated into turnkey system solutions.
The Teledyne companies providing sensor technologies include:
• Teledyne Bowtech specialises in the design and manufacture of underwater vision systems including: video inspection systems, underwater cameras, underwater LED lights, xenon emergency relocation strobes, custom moulded cable assemblies, pan and tilts, electrical and fibre-optic connectors, fibre-optic multiplexers and slip rings for use in hazardous areas or subsea.
• Teledyne CDL is the pioneer of the popular Tiny Optic Gyro System (TOGS) a Fibre Optic Gyro based North seeking compass for use on vessels and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Teledyne CDL also provides products that satisfy demanding user requirements for inertial positioning, sensor, telemetry and navigation requirements.
• Teledyne Oceanscience supplies the oceanographic, hydrologic and hydrographic communities with deployment platforms for environmental monitoring instrumentation. Major products include turnkey remote hydrographic survey boat systems with environmental monitoring and/or bathymetry equipment; the new rapidCAST system that provides automated, affordable and compact SV profiling from a moving vessel; remotely-operated and tethered instrumentation deployment boats for echo sounders and ADCP’s; and the popular Sea Spider and Barnacle seafloor platforms.
• Teledyne RD Instruments pioneered the invention of the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for current profiling and wave measurement applications, and has delivered over 20,000 of these instruments worldwide for use in environments ranging from shallow streams to the deepest ocean. Teledyne RDI is also the leading manufacturer of Doppler Velocity Logs (DVLs) for precision underwater navigation onboard subsea and surface platforms. Rounding out the company’s product offerings is their family of Citadel CTD sensors, ideally suited for a variety of oceanographic applications.
• Teledyne TSS Ltd is a world leader in the design, manufacture and support of marine products for applications including navigation, motion compensation, platform stabilisation, and subsea pipe and cable survey. The company has specialist sales and support worldwide through a comprehensive network of distributors and service providers.
In addition to its sensor technologies, Teledyne has also recently rounded out its product offerings for offshore seismic exploration. Bolt Technology and Real Time Systems were acquired by Teledyne in late 2014, joining Teledyne Geophysical Instruments in this marketspace. Collectively, these organizations deliver a full spectrum of seismic technology ranging from small highly reliable hydrophones and intricate towed arrays, to innovative sound sources and data synchronization systems.
• Teledyne Geophysical Instruments is a global organization delivering high-quality, high reliability, marine seismic exploration technology for the oil & gas exploration industry and complex hydrophone technology systems for defense, survey and marine market applications. Used aboard more than one-third of all commercial seismic research vessels, Teledyne Geophysical designs, manufactures and services sensors, sensor arrays and streamer cables for subsurface geological structure mapping to identify features likely to contain hydrocarbon deposits; listen for the “signatures” associated with ships and submarines; and conduct research associated with the marine environment.
• Teledyne Bolt is a leading designer and manufacturer of seismic energy sources. In 1993 Bolt introduced the LONG-LIFE Air Gun, which has become the world’s most widely used air gun for marine seismic exploration.
Teledyne Bolt, Inc. in conjunction with WesternGeco recently developed a new marine air gun based on a revolutionary design.
The eSource is the first bandwidth controlled impulsive marine seismic source that addresses ocean noise. In addition to marine air guns, Teledyne Bolt, Inc. supplies a range of Down Hole Air Guns used for reservoir characterization, transition zone surveys and onshore and offshore VSP surveys.
• Teledyne Real Time Systems provides shipboard and in-water instrumentation required to manage marine seismic energy sources for all types of seismic exploration. Teledyne RTS source synchronizer systems are used extensively for open-water projects 2D/3D/4D, VSP drilling profile work, transition zone projects, and any land-based project that requires an in-water impulsive energy source. Customers report that Teledyne RTS’s engineering development and technical support are the best in the industry.With the new introduction of two industry-changing products, Teledyne RTS is poised to continue for years to come as a leader in seismic exploration manufacturing and technology.
The MTR100 is Marine Technology Reporter's Annual report on 100 leading companies in the subsea industry, published in the July/August 2015 edition of MTR - http://www.marinetechnologynews.com/Magazine
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