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Asso Group chooses Sonardyne underwater guidance for its trenching fleet

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21 June 2022

Submarine cable installation and repair specialist Asso Group has chosen underwater vehicle guidance technology from Sonardyne for its expanding trenching fleet. 

The company, based in Greece and with operations globally, will install Sonardyne’s subsea Lodestar attitude and heading reference sensors (AHRS) on its trenching machines working across interconnector and offshore wind cable installation, protection and repair. 

Asso Subsea specialises in hard soil conditions using its in-house designed fleet of shallow to deepwater trenchers. Its largest system, the nearly 13 m-long AssoTrencher IV, can cut trenches up to 2.3 m deep for burying power and telecommunications cables, including interconnectors and offshore wind inter array and export cables, in down to 800 m water depth. 

Using Lodestar’s on its trenchers will allow technicians to complete cable laying and burial operations efficiently, by maintaining a high level of situational awareness of the platform’s dynamics, which is key when to keeping the vehicles on course in geotechnically challenging, zero visibility environments.

In addition to AHRS, some wind farm project specifications can also require the use of an inertial navigation system (INS) on trenchers, in order to ascertain an accurate as laid position of their subsea cables.

"By choosing Lodestar, we can easily upgrade to Sonardyne’s full INS solution, SPRINT,” says Michael Chionatos R&D Director of Technical Division, at Asso. "Indeed, this is something we have been able to do in the past, providing our developer customers assurance, when they require it, by geo-referencing cable laying operations, all without the need to pay for a separate INS system and having to interface additional payloads to their vehicle.”

"We’re happy to be supporting Asso Group as they see increasing demand for their capabilities in the offshore wind market,” says Mike Ellis, Business Development Manager for renewables at Sonardyne. "With their latest and upgraded trenchers, and the recent addition of the Athena DP-3 trenching support vessel to their fleet, targeting floating offshore wind, they’re ready to support this expanding market, supported by our trusted and time-saving underwater guidance and navigation solutions.” 

Last year, Asso won a contract to install the 66 kV export and inter-array cables on Vattenfall’s 350 MW Vesterhav Nord and Syd projects. The company was also awarded a contract, in consortium with Prysmian Group, to install the export cable system for the Gruissan floating offshore windfarm in southern France. 

The company’s previous projects include work on Borwin 3, Dolwin 3, Veja Mate, Deutsche Bucht, Global Tech 1, and SeaMade.

Image: Asso Group’s expanding trenching fleet, such as its AssoTrencher IV Mk9, will benefit from underwater vehicle guidance technology from Sonardyne. Image from Asso Group.

Asso Group chooses Sonardyne underwater guidance for its trenching fleet