The full picture

The name KONGSBERG is recognised across the world as a supplier of high-technology solutions for complex operations in extreme conditions. As a knowledge-based internationally operating Group, KONGSBERG develops specialist applications of technology across four key business areas; Kongsberg Maritime, Kongsberg Oil and Gas Technologies, Kongsberg Defence Systems, and Kongsberg Protech Systems.

As such, Kongsberg Maritime delivers products and systems for positioning, navigation and automation to merchant and offshore vessels, as well as systems for seabed surveying and monitoring. Balancing innovation and reliability, the company’s solutions are also utilised for coastal marine, navy, subsea, port and harbour surveillance, and maritime simulation and training. Therefore alongside its headquarters in Norway, Kongsberg Maritime’s most important markets include countries with large offshore and shipyard industries.

One such market is the UK, where Kongsberg Maritime not only operates two divisions, but also a number of other businesses under the KONGSBERG umbrella including Hydroid, Kongsberg Geoacoustics and Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies. Based in Aberdeen, the UK headquarters of Kongsberg Maritime provides sales, rental and support for the entire range of Kongsberg Maritime products and systems. It also acts as a global focus for the design and manufacture of underwater and harsh environment camera systems.

General manager of Kongsberg Maritime Ltd’s Offshore Division, with responsibility for the UK and Ireland territory, Dave Shand elaborates on some of the activities of this market: “We work across all shipping sectors, but our primary business in the UK is offshore related, including renewables. We also have many merchant customers in the UK who operate on a global basis as well as oceanographic research and UK Navy. The key strengths of our offering is our technology, which the customer can use to maximise their operational efficiency, and our customer support which includes training as well as field support.”

With its own history tracing back to the birth of the UK North Sea oil industry in 1975, Kongsberg Maritime is a long respected partner in the offshore sector.

“Kongsberg Maritime aims to provide what we call ‘the full picture’,” explains Dave. “This means products that are integrated to serve the whole ship such as automation systems, dynamic positioning, and navigation. We also provide all sorts of other technologies which tie into those systems such as underwater acoustics, cameras, and underwater navigation systems. If you look at more specialist ships such as offshore construction, floating production vessels or drilling vessels, or even very niche types like oceanographic research ships, we provide a much more comprehensive spread of integratable technologies than our competitors.

“This offers multiple advantages to ship owners, as if they have common systems throughout it means that operations become easier as the crew are seeing the same types of interfaces and screens. The spares requirement is also reduced as you can have common parts across the different types of system. Likewise, training is more efficient because having a more uniform interface simplifies the process for crew,” he continues.

Amongst these other areas, Kongsberg Maritime has become a world leader in the field of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) following the KONGSBERG acquisition of Hydroid some years ago which enhanced the company’s existing HUGIN AUV range. The company is also very strong in the gas carrier marketplace, for both LNG and LPG, offering a fully integrated solution. Likewise, Kongsberg Maritime has a fairly unique position in the floating production sector in that it can supply automation navigation, surface positioning and acoustic systems from one source.

“One of the outstanding contracts Kongsberg Maritime has recently been awarded is the control systems for the Statoil Mariner project. This is Statoil’s first venture into the UK and we’re going to be supplying all the platform controls, process automation, and safety systems. This in turn requires us to further build up our support capability in the UK for that type of business. We already have a reasonable size capability supporting several floating production vessels, but will look to extend this further to take on these additional requirements,” describes Dave.

One of the ways that Kongsberg Maritime will be looking to achieve this is through its new facility in Aberdeen for the offshore division. With the move sparked by the expansion the company has been undergoing, the new site boasts an upgraded training centre almost double the previous size, expanded systems workshops and a new underwater test facility which will improve the service offered to its customers.

This may prove to have been a shrewd investment by the business as Dave reveals he is relatively positive about the marketplace ahead: “One area we have been successful in over the last few years, and that we see as having the potential to grow further, is offshore renewables. We have already supplied a high proportion of the offshore installation vessels specifically designed for this market with DP and integrated automation systems, and the forecast is for more installation and support vessels to be built. With fields moving further out, the industry is recognising that sophisticated support ships will be needed and we can provide the systems for these.”

Kongsberg Maritime is also benefiting from the fact that these technologies are already well proven in the offshore market, and with the merger of a lot of capability between this market and the renewables sector, clients feel confident in choosing a KONGSBERG solution.

“Another interesting area for us is the wet renewables,” adds Dave. “Recently we have won a couple of contracts for underwater acoustic monitoring systems, and are also looking at possibilities in environmental monitoring such as monitoring of CO2 storage sites. We have a lot of technologies in this area such as AUVs, noise monitoring systems and acoustic sensors, so whilst these markets are not very mature at the moment we see them as potential areas for exploration in the future.”

In the meantime though, Kongsberg Maritime is continuing with its strategy of providing the best support possible to its client. This is part of a two-part approach, firstly to develop technologies which address customer requirements, and secondly to support these afterwards. As such, as the company looks at new opportunities such as offshore renewables it will maintain this outlook to try and adapt technologies for specific application in these markets, and then create the support mechanisms necessary to ensure that the customer maximises their performance with KONGSBERG solutions.

High technology maritime solutions
Offers integrated systems
New UK facility