Sea Technology

DEC 2013

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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ally intuitive, including the regulation of oxygen supply via both an adjustable bellows and needle valve bypass, and an electric fan circulates cabin gas through the carbon dioxide scrubber system. The pilot is tasked with maintaining a constant oxygen fraction of approximately .21 bar while under a -1 pound per square inch vacuum. Deviations from this oxygen percentage are continuously monitored topside, with data transmitted through optical fber in the umbilical, and the pilot can be instructed to adjust the bellows to match metabolic consumption during work or rest. Pre- and Post-Dive Procedures and Maintenance. A detailed pre- and post-dive checklist is provided with the Exosuit. The checklist was modifed slightly throughout this initial training program to refect trainee input and considerations for actual feld operations. The checklist sequentially scrolls through pilot systems and verifcation procedures, as well as topside systems and operations at the control center, then rigging checks and procedures for the suit lift and deployment/recovery. This procedural checklist was worked through in detail (approximately 1 "The Exosuit represents the next generation of ADS technology." hour pre-dive, 30 minutes post-dive) during every training dive (approximately 15-person dives at 60 to 90 minutes each over three days of in-water training tank practice). Many of the procedures became intuitive after this repetition, and participants generally agreed that the system was intuitive for pre- and post-dive tasks with relatively quick turnaround between pilot excursions. Deployment and Retrieval Procedures. Exosuit deployment and retrieval will vary depending on the platform or vessel utilized for operational support, but efforts were made to standardize rigging the suit with pilot aboard for lift from or to the suit staging frame which also opens the ADS torso for pilot entry and exit. Attention was devoted to team manning requirements to ensure safe and effective deployment. Crew requirements will vary depending upon the work platform or vessel; however, it was evident that the minimum manning requirement is fve people. This team consists of a dive supervisor, a tender, deck foreman/winch operator, crane/launch-and-recovery system operator, and pilot. Personnel assumed each role during our training and benefted by practicing coordination during each deployment and retrieval procedure. In-water Function and Operations. Each pilot trainee was afforded at least two in-water rotations (approximately 60 to 90 minutes each) in a test tank on site. While brief, this provided adequate time to learn basic suit functions with an emphasis on directional mobility using the thrusters. Exercises were performed such as deploying and restowing a knife, attempting to touch various tank features with either hand pod manipulator, maintaining a vertical position in midwater, and attempting to break a conventional shackle or retrieve a dime from the bottom of the tank. Additionally, emergency procedures for donning a BIBS-style breathing mask to bypass the scrubber fan were rehearsed. Generally, all pilot trainees commented on the relative simplicity of suit functions, though it was universally acknowledged that considerable practice time in the water would be required to rehearse special tasks or to manipulate tooling for upcoming work. Probably the best indication of Exosuit function was illustrated by the training results achieved by one professional engineer. This individual was a recreational scuba diver with only a half dozen open-water dives, but after his Exosuit training rotations he could retrieve a dime from the bottom of the tank and was eager to perform more complicated and meaningful work. Considerations for Practical Applications Throughout the training program, discussions continued regarding potential mechanisms to provide access to the Exosuit, particularly for the scientifc community. The concept is supported by J. F. White, as it would broaden the market for this technology, and afford benefts to new areas 12 st / December 2013

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