Submarine Manufacturing and Products Ltd (SMP) has secured a contract with Norwegian company Alf Lea to supply a complete wet bell system to Bergen University.
Alf Lea approached SMP to design and manufacture a wet bell launch and recovery system (LARS) with supporting 20ft DNV containerized machinery and dive control.
All aspects of the project are to be designed, manufactured and tested by the company’s workforce at the workshop site located in Preston, Lancashire.
The wet bell LARS has been designed to operate within a compact footprint to minimize the required operational deck space on board a vessel or barge. Emphasis has been placed on ease of mobilization and demobilization, so that costs are kept to a minimum. The wet bell LARS is IMCA D023 and D018 compliant and has third party design approval by Lloyds Register.
When fully retracted by the hydraulic cylinders, with the wet bell and clump weight stowed on the base skid, the size and dimensions of the wet bell system is the same size as an ISO 20-foot container.
The wet bell was a bespoke design incorporating many features specifically requested by the client including diver monitoring and remote control operations of the hydraulic winches.
Mark Peloe, Sales Executive at SMP, said, “It was apparent from the outset that this was going to be a bespoke design to allow compliance with the clients list of requirements. The in-house design team at SMP worked closely with Alf Lea and Bergen University to produce a design and supporting visual presentations to enable the client to ‘see’ the system before manufacturing.”
The dive control container is outfitted with a steel floor and divided into two sections designated as the dive control area and the machinery area.
Sections can be accessed via the container main double doors and a further separate personnel door. Additionally the container is fitted with a large observation window and penetrator plates for hydraulic/pneumatic services and the container is finished with a zinc based marine grade painting system.
The dive control area is fully insulated throughout and fitted with an Air Conditioner. Heating is also fitted via a flat heater panel fixed to the wall.
A three diver air panel and wet bell panel is wall mounted with an access hatch to the rear for maintenance ease. All incoming and outgoing air supplies are hard piped in tungum or stainless steel and a diver monitoring system providing digital video and audio recording of all diving activities has also been installed.
The machinery area is fitted with two hot water machines. The first machine acts as a primary supply to the diver, the feed of which is from a submersible sea water pump. The secondary machine is a fresh water vessel, providing an emergency stored source of hot water should a fault arise.
To further enhance the company’s capabilities, SMP joined forces with engineering and fabrication company WEC Group earlier this year as a way of combining each other’s engineering expertise and strengthening operations.