Viper Subsea Technology Ltd, the Portishead and Aberdeen-based subsea engineering company that provides consultancy and develops products for the oil and gas sector worldwide, has acquired a 33% equity stake in US-based LiveWire Innovation Inc. - the recognised leader in Spread-Spectrum Time Domain Reflectometry or ‘SSTDR’.
LiveWire’s SSTDR technology transmits small signals along communications or power cables and detects any anomalies along the length of the cable. Proprietary algorithms interpret the signals and convert the information into data that can be used by the client. The technology enables system operators and equipment manufacturers to ‘see’ into their electrical infrastructure while in use and to pinpoint the location of electrical short-circuits and open-circuits, as well as intermittent or transient faults such as arcs. SSTDR has the ability to locate faults to within 98% accuracy.
Speaking about the investment, Viper Subsea’s managing director Neil Douglas said “This is a strategic move that benefits both parties, with Viper Subsea acquiring exclusivity to the SSTDR products in certain geographical markets and business segments.
“SSTDR is a strong value-add to Viper Subsea’s current product capabilities. When coupled with the Viper Subsea V-IR and V-LIM products, the combination of market-leading technology will lead to a product that will transform the ability of clients to fully understand the integrity of their electrical cable infrastructure and pin-point the location of intermittent or permanent failures.
“The combined Viper Subsea / LiveWire offer will reduce maintenance and troubleshooting costs for clients, increase system reliability, and reduce down-time for a range of systems that rely on electrical cables to deliver power and/or communications. In addition to fault locating in subsea electrical distribution, other industries will also benefit. A good example would be preventing train signalling faults that result in delays for passengers. The combined technology will be able to extend the useful life of systems and equipment. This is a very exciting time for both businesses, as well as for the industries that will benefit from a marriage of two innovative technologies.”
John Baumann, CEO of LiveWire Innovation, said, “LiveWire is excited to have Viper Subsea as both a financial investor and a close industry partner. Viper Subsea’s engineering skill-set, product development capability, targeted end-markets and complimentary Insulation Monitoring techniques make them a perfect fit with LiveWire. “The strategic focus of LiveWire has been to partner with OEMs and end-equipment manufacturers to integrate and embed SSTDR capability that is needed for wide scale deployment of the technology.”
Founded in 2004, LiveWire Innovation Inc. is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA with business operations and offices in California, the UK and Taiwan. LiveWire has an extensive portfolio of patents, based in part on $13 million of prior funding by the US Department of Defence that helped develop the technology and applications for it in aeronautic maintenance. Outside of the markets in which Viper Subsea currently operates, SSTDR can be applied to aviation, transportation, utilities, and numerous other industrial applications.