Flooded tunnel inspection record broken by Hibbard Inshore using a Saab Seaeye Sabertooth
Inside Australia's Snowy Mountain hydro scheme, leading underwater service provider, Hibbard Inshore, say they have broken the record for the longest tunnel inspection by a tethered vehicle using their newest long-range vehicle, the Saab Seaeye Sabertooth.
The mission set out to gather high-density dimensional data, discover open cracks or holes, find debris build-up, detect lining failures, and identify any rock falls.
From the data collected Hibbard created 3D models ready for maintenance planning and comparable inspection data to identify future trends in tunnel condition.
click image to enlarge
|Tunnel sonar cross-section.
Hibbard Inshore has so far inspected six trans-mountain tunnels across the Snowy Hydro Scheme using this method and will return in 2014 for further inspections.
Previously the tunnels had to be drained for examination, risking collapse of the tunnel and endangering inspection personnel.
Chief Operating Officer of Snowy Hydro, Ken Lister said:
"The use of the unmanned sub for tunnel inspections now means that it can be done more frequently, more safely and without the need to shut down power stations or drain the tunnel. This multi-million dollar investment is a great outcome for the business, for the safety of our people and contractors and is part of our wider program of Scheme upgrades and on-going maintenance".
The challenges for Hibbard Inshore included entering narrow shafts, navigating tight bends, working in limited visibility and managing within a strict schedule.
The Sabertooth can operate as either a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a tether to allow for real-time data and pilot control, or as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to give flexibility in various tunnel inspection scenarios.
Saab Seaeye is the world's largest manufacturer of electric ROVs, and now includes Saab's underwater vehicle range of tethered, autonomous and hybrid underwater vehicle systems for the defence industry.
Hibbard Inshore is a global engineering services company with a premier fleet of ROVs and the expertise and technology necessary to solve the complex challenges of the power, water, sewer, tunnelling and offshore industries.
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