Oil States Industries was developing an external cutting manipulator (ECM) that allows for remotely controlled cutting of subsea steel structures for offshore decommissioning. In order to effectively utilise this abrasive water jet cutting technology, Oil States needed to develop a rotary docking module (RDM) that mounts to a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to allow proper installation. This ECM tool can then be deployed subsea in a tool basket for collection and installation by a work class ROV fitted with the Oil States RDM. The RDM required (6) independent hydraulic lines to function with ability to rotate - this design would require a custom rotary union assembly.
The specialized rotary union needed to have a compact design to fit within the available space on the ROV. Additionally, the union's bearing system needed to maintain shaft alignment and support the weight of the RDM. This design would need to operate reliably at subsea depths up to 300 meters within a temperature range of -40° C to 120° C.
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