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KT Hydraulics expertise provides submersible gearbox solution

Necessity became the mother of invention for KT Hydraulics when working on a contract for BP’s Azeri oil field in the Caspian Sea. Halifax based KTH had secured a large contract with Glasgow hydraulic systems specialist Amclyde Norson to develop and supply submersible actuators for platforms in the Caspian Sea

The actuator and valve assemblies were to be used to control ballast in the platform jacket legs to accurately site the jackets on concrete templates on the seabed but the client also requested that the system should have a manual override facility. To provide such a facility requires a submersible gearbox to step down the input from a handwheel shaft and provide sufficient force to activate the actuator mechanism.

“We expected to be able to go out and buy a suitable gearbox unit off the shelf”, explains KTH director Richard Ellis. “After several weeks of contacting suppliers around the globe we were no closer to getting what we wanted and at this point decided that we would have to build or own unit.

Taking an off the shelf item from David Brown Gears we applied our experience gained from years of designing and manufacturing high pressure hydraulic systems and devised a solution that was more than a match for the job.

We subjected the final version to hyperbaric testing at pressures up to 30bar to ensure that the units would be operational to a submerged depth of 200m. This gave us a high safety margin for the Caspian Sea project where they would only be working at a submerged depth of 140m.

Having engineered a solution to the problem, Richard Ellis is confident that the company’s work can bring benefits elsewhere.” KTH is now looking at other industries and processes where the technology developed could be used including water and sewerage, chemical and process plant applications. Our solution can quite easily be adapted to any gearbox that is required to run submerged in almost any fluid”.

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API Standards

With many years of experience in design and manufacture to API standards including API Standard 614, Lubrication Shaft-Sealing and Control-Oil Systems for Special-Purpose Applications, 5th Edition, we have an in -depth understanding of the requirements and implications.

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