Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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Kongsberg Seatex is located at Pirsenteret in Trondheim. Outside stands a statue of Leiv Eriksson, the explorer who in the 1000s led his open longship from Greenland to the North American Continent.
The Vikings navigated by the sun and stars. Today we rely on satellite navigation – one of a total of four core areas for Kongsberg Seatex.
“We have defined some areas where we will be one of the world leaders. These areas are satellite positioning, measuring the movement of marine objects, radio/laser technology and control/management of seismic operations”, explains Vidar Bjørkedal, Vice President of Sales and Customer Support.
Bjørkedal takes us on a round to demonstrate what this means in practice. First stop is the office of David Hagen. David is a project manager and works with a type of broadband radio that enables the sending of video images. Hagen shows us a video that was recorded in connection with a test in co-operation with the coast guard.
“We are conducting a test here where the coast guard inspectors have cameras on their bodies as they board a fishing vessel for inspection. The images are sent live back to the coast guard vessel. As you can see, the signals also come through when the inspectors are inside the vessel”, David Hagen explains.
David Hagen was also on board the coast guard vessel when the new radio was being tested. He demonstrates a small transmitter and an antenna that has a very special function.
“It copies the characteristics of a number of different antennas, and thereby captures signals even if the visibility between the sender and receiver is blocked by a passing ship, for example”.
The tour continues and we head down to the workshop where wings and bodies of the eBird are inspected and repaired. eBird is a product that connects to streamers that hang several kilometres behind a seismic vessel. The wings enable the streamers to stay parallel in the water without getting tangled together. This is all thanks to positioning via GPS and control via sonar sound.
The eBird was developed here at the Pir Terminal and testing was done in the fjord right outside the office wall. According to Vidar Bjørkedal, the location is ideal for a company like Seatex.
“This allows us to quickly mobilise the test vessels that we hire. We also have a good working relationship with Hurtigruten, which passes through every day”.
Another important product from Seatex is a motion sensor that is placed on board larger vessels. It records all movements in all directions and is an incredibly important part of Kongsberg Maritime’s DP systems.
The combination of north and south has proven to be vital for many owners and operators of polar orbiting satellites. In addition KSAT owns and operates mid-latitude ground stations, including Singapore, Bangalore, Dubai and Hartebeesthoek ground stations.
The KSAT network includes a long list of partner sites provided through well established partnerships around the world.
“Before they leave Seatex, they have to be calibrated, and this is where even the earth’s rotation is taken into consideration”, explains Andrew Robertsen, who operates the machinery. Together with Finn Otto Sanne, Robertsen is one of the experts on the MRU, which stands for Motion Reference Unit.
Another product from Seatex is a laser that measures the distance between two vessels out at sea. Harald Rosshaug demonstrates the system, showing us how they have configured lasers and receivers.
“These are systems that are included in our solutions for vessel positioning. This is especially important when several vessels are situated around a drilling rig, for example”, Rosshaug explains.
Kongsberg Seatex is primarily made up of engineers. Many of them are recruited from the engineering programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Vidar Bjørkedal explains how the working environment is characterised by innovation and new ideas. Kongsberg Seatex also has several different groups that are engaged in leisure activities.
“We have an active company sports team and many different activities. The social network within the company offers something for everyone to get involved in. We have everything from beer brewing to participants in the St. Olav race, which involves the entire company”, Vidar Bjørkedal concludes.