The 2022 December issue of Sea Technology (information leader for marine business, science and engineering), featured Dr. Felix Gorbatsevich, CEO of PaleBlue, and Snorre Balkøy, Discipline Lead for ROV & 3D Studies at Aker Solutions, discussing the challenges of ROV simulation software.
Back in March 2022, we shared the introduction of our novel ROV engineering simulator following a project with Aker Solutions earlier that year. The scope of that initial project was to simulate the behavior of the underwater robots (ROVs) in a controlled environment, performing accessibility checks for the underwater oil & gas installations. PaleBlue used the feedback provided by Balkøy and Aker Solutions to further develop the simulator.
The following is an excerpt from the magazine:
The ROV Access department is a part of the system analysis group at Aker Solutions. Over the years, this department has used different simulation software to verify ROV interfaces, design ROV safety envelopes and plan maneuvers in relation to subsea structures. Over and over, the department has struggled with the same issues of these ROV software packages: performance and complexity. Low performance and high software complexity have both contributed to project execution times that were longer than ideal.
Traditional ROV simulators require CAD models to be converted and optimized in third-party software before being added into the simulator. This is a cumbersome and time-consuming task. Optimizing 3D CAD models for performance usually meant removing important details. After a 3D model is finally imported into the simulation software, the next stage would be to add physical characteristics to the models for interaction, which also is a time-consuming task and impacts performance of the simulation.
The typical simulation tools on the market were not working for Aker’s ROV Access department. After the team analyzed how it works and how to achieve the best quality and speed of simulation verifications, the team tried to identify which functionalities in a simulator software would add value to its process: for example, the ability to import CAD models in most formats directly into the simulator’s editor; being able to optimize models during import; quickly adding physical characteristics to the areas where needed for the verification; the ability to manipulate models in runtime; and a strong focus on reusability of models and their parts and using these in the process of verification.
The PaleBlue team is not new to simulators. The company’s simulation solutions are preferred by some of the biggest industrial companies. Having delivered projects to NASA, Saudi Aramco, and Neptune Energy, PaleBlue has developed a robust simulator technology platform. A number of simulator products from PaleBlue are focused on personnel training, while others focus on robotics and autonomy.
Based on Aker Solutions’ observations and ideas, a new ROV simulator began to be developed that would allow for 3D model import and optimization, model manipulation and configuring physics. All in all, it needed to be future-proof.
The simulator project was started in early 2021, and soon after, the first functionality was complete. Aker Solutions’ ROV team was able to start using the software when running subsea projects.Once Aker saw the first results, the company realized that there is much more possible to develop on this platform. The simulator is now in active use, and it has been for over a year.
This is not just a generic simulator. By working with PaleBlue directly, Aker Solutions is incorporating specific functions that will truly add value to its projects and benefit its clients. Over the last year, Aker has been using this simulator for all its subsea projects for clients including Equinor, Total, Aker BP and Chevron, to mention a few. The projects are based all around the world.
Snorre Balkøy, Discipline Lead for ROV & 3D Studies, Aker Solutions
By introducing this new simulator, Aker’s working routine has seen a significant improvement, with the team constantly seeing new opportunities on how to add value to the ROV verification process or how to save time. The time saved when using the simulator turns into higher quality of deliverables.
PaleBlue ROV Access Simulator
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ROV simulators are very different today from what they used to be five to 10 years ago. The growing complexity of subsea installations brings a number of technological challenges. A simulator also has to be more flexible, not locking the users into a predefined set of ROVs or arms. Extensibility and configurability are required, while being able to handle huge models and whole subsea fields with high performance.
Read the full article at: Sea Technology Magazine
About Felix Gorbatsevich
Dr. Felix Gorbatsevich is the co-founder and CEO of PaleBlue, a company producing simulators and training solutions. He has worked previously at technology and software companies, including Aker Solutions, MHWirth, Sun Microsystems, and small and medium enterprises in roles ranging from software engineer and systems architect to project manager and managing director. Now at PaleBlue, Gorbatsevich leads the development of 3D simulators and virtual reality solutions for PaleBlue’s clients, including Saudi Aramco, Neptune Energy and the European Space Agency. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science.
About Snorre Balkøy
Working at Aker Solutions in the ROV department for the last 12 years, Snorre Balkøy focuses on ensuring ROV access and operability of designs for the subsea market. He has led Aker’s ROV Access group for the last 10 years. Prior to working at Aker Solutions, Balkøy worked offshore for seven years, operating ROVs and working on AUVs and trenchers. He also has experience in the aviation industry as a system avionic for SAS and later for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. He studied system avionics and dynamic web design.
PaleBlue is a VR technology company, which has established a unique set of capabilities within 3D, VR, and multi-user experiences, used in simulation training environments. The company builds on a 20+ years experience track of building 3D and training simulation systems for the energy industry, including crane training, underwater robot simulators, drilling operation simulators, and more.
About Aker Solutions
Aker Solutions delivers integrated solutions, products, and services to the global energy industry. Aker Solutions enables low-carbon oil and gas production and develops renewable solutions to meet future energy needs. By combining innovative digital solutions and predictable project execution, the company accelerates the transition to sustainable energy production.
About Sea Technology Magazine
Sea Technology is the worldwide information leader for marine business, science and engineering.For more than 50 years, Sea Technology has been the marine industry’s recognized authority on the design, science, technology and engineering of equipment and services in the global ocean community.