Mechanical design and precision engineering service, allowing scientists to tap into our extensive oceanographic design knowledge to ensure their project data collection goals are realised.
The workshop personnel are experienced in machining high grade materials such as titanium and stainless steel to produce items to very tight tolerances. The workshop uses CNC lathes and milling machines for highly accurate and repeatable production of parts from in-house designs using CAD. We can produce design drawings as well as 3D rendered drawings and images of the finished product for presentations.
Electronic and Instrumentation Engineering
We provide a complete electronics, instrumentation and systems engineering service for all aspects of coastal and shelf seas scientific research. Our engineers are capable of producing innovative data logging systems working at component level, including circuit board PCB design for bespoke solutions.
Our knowledge of commercially available instruments enables us to create a system of integrated sensors and data loggers to the scientist’s requirements. Our electronics engineers work closely with our mechanical engineers to produce bespoke instrument systems, housed in enclosures and mounting systems designed specifically for the project.
Our engineers can advise on communication requirements to retrieve valuable data without having to visit the deployment site. We are experienced in using all forms of communication systems. These include terrestrial based systems such as: PSTN, GSM, GPRS, 3G, ADSL and VDSL, as well as satellite based systems such as: MeteoSat, GOES, Iridium and BGAN.
We have a proven track record in retrieving data from remote installations in places such as South Atlantic islands and the Scottish Highlands.
Autonomous Sensor Integration
We are experienced in working with autonomous vehicles, such as the Slocum Glider and Liquid Robotics wave glider. We are experienced in installing sensors into these platforms for different requirements.
We have installed a high accuracy GNSS receiver into a wave glider and used that to determine sea levels in the Southern Ocean. We also designed a sensor guard to protect a very delicate and expensive Rockland turbidity probe that had been integrated into a Slocum glider. The design had to protect the sensors but also to minimise disruption to the water being measured. We are also currently working on integrating the NOC wet chemical sensors for nitrate and phosphate into the Slocum glider.
Tide Gauge Technologies
The NOC is a world leader in undertaking sea level measurements and at the heart of this lies the experience of our engineers to design bespoke installations to suit each site.
We have a long history of installing and maintaining tide gauge networks in the UK and overseas. We have designed, built and installed the UK National Tide Gauge Network, consisting of 44 sites and were responsible for the running and maintenance of it up until 2016. The network is now owned the by the Environment Agency.
Since the 1980s, the NOC has developed the South Atlantic Tide Gauge Network (SATGN), providing vital observations from an under-sampled ocean region and a test bed for technology development for remote and hostile regions.
This Southern Ocean network has enabled us to develop new and novel technologies to address a wide range of issues, such as deploying and maintaining underwater equipment, recording surface measurements in Polar Regions, operating with limited power resources, telemetry issues etc.
This has now allowed us to develop a suite of high quality, technological solutions that can be used for high accuracy sea level tide gauge installations, for deployment in remote, harsh and difficult to reach environments.
These technology achievements have allowed us to collaborate in programs such as the Commonwealth Marines Economies (CME) programme, funded by UK Government. This program is part of a ~£23 million package of measurements to help Small Island and Developing States (SIDS), to develop their marine economies programme and foster their science capability. We have been able to contribute to this using our tide gauge expertise, to design and develop sea-level monitoring instrumentation in areas such as the Caribbean, which includes St Lucia, Belize and Dominica.
These gauges have been designed to be robust with low manufacturing and maintenance cost, but are able to provide a high quality technological solution with minimal running costs. As this area is also prone to seismic activity and hurricane type events, high frequency sampling is also needed to expedite the identification of tsunami and storm type events, which can then be dissemination as warnings around the region.
Landers and seabed monitoring
A lander is a frame that is equipped with a suite of sensors or instruments and is lowered or free-falls to the seabed to collect measurements. The NOC has a range of landers and frames for use in a variety of locations, from the deep ocean, through to coastal and intertidal regions. We are experts in lander operations with over forty years’ experience in designing, deploying and recovering landers. We offer standard and bespoke lander design services.
MYRTLE-X is a sea-bed lander capable of operating in water depths up to 6000m. It is a long term ocean observatory platform suitable for use with a wide range of sensors and capable of transmitting data back from the deployment site, periodically without needing to recover the measuring platform.
Data are recorded onto a central logger which then distributes duplicate data into data capsules. Up to twelve capsules can be fitted and they can be released on-demand or via pre-determined intervals. Once on the surface, the data capsule can be recovered or it can begin transmitting data back to the lab, along with the current position. MYRTLE-X also has the capability of transferring data from the logger to nearby gliders or vessels, thus recovering data with releasing a capsule. If data is being transferred to/from a nearby surface buoy, mission control parameters can be changed remotely in order to respond to a forecasted event.