Offshore operations demand work in harsh environments and challenging conditions; whether the work is done via bottom-founded barges or deepwater mobile offshore drilling units (MODU), the same essential monitoring equipment is required. With MODU, where water depths are up to 10,000 feet, floor-bottom pressure measurement is crucial, and instrumentation must meet the rigors of low temperature, extreme pressure and constant turbulence.
In 2010, a channel partner approached the WIKA team at a recent trade show, asking for help in solving a gauge problem. They needed a gauge that would be suitable to work for offshore, remote-operated vehicles (ROVs)—but for more than one or two trips underwater, which was the best the channel partner was achieving with its current supplier.
The WIKA Product Management team answered the call, and the answer was the groundbreaking Sub Sea Gauge. The gauge was texted in WIKA laboratory’s hyperbaric chamber, and it quickly proved itself. While the client asked for a gauge that would maintain integrity for more than two trips to the seafloor, WIKA’s new gauge set a new standard: This innovative sub sea gauge performed optimally for the equivalent of 25 trips underwater. “After that, we stopped testing,” said WIKA’s Jeff Placek, SR. Group Manager – Product Management.
Modified from the Model 233.24 gauge, the new sub sea gauge was outfitted with a high-impact, fiberglass-reinforced PCAN case with a solid-front design, the gauge can handle up to 15,000 psi at 10,000 feet underwater. Stress ribs increase case stability and integrity while minimizing deflection from external seawater pressure.
Along with its high-performance casing, the new gauge touted dual-pane safety class to reinforce its strength, all 316 stainless steel components (TIG welded for system integrity), and a pressure compensation membrane to bolster the surface area, effectively transferring and balancing internal and external case pressure. A Lexan shield—an extra glass pane acting as a shield—protects the gauge from routine bumps and minor collisions from ROVs in unpredictable sea currents.
The liquid-filled gauge (glycerin) is easier to read thanks to a black background and white pointer, specifically designed for ROVs which take negative image readings; the fill fluid, degassed, also helps minimize fluid compressibility to withstand pressure and reduce “pointer flutter” caused by pulsation. The high-pressure connection (F250C) minimizes leak points for greater longevity.
Rigorous standards, accurate calibration, and critical attention to detail ensure that every one of the more than 43 million products WIKA Instrument Corporation will provide to the petrochemical industry this year meets and exceeds expectations. Renowned customer service and reliable technical support ensure that WIKA gauges are the right solution for the challenging applications.
Customized and innovative solutions are the standard for WIKA Instrument Corporation, a pioneer in precision instrumentation since 1946. Whether the gauges need to withstand oceanic pressures, extreme temperatures or corrosive environments, the WIKA difference means that their professionals are equipped to work with every customer to meet dynamic, unique specifications.
Press Release, September 14, 2012