Tekdata and SEA succeed in subsea wiring project

19th November 2010
Posted By : ES Admin
Tekdata and SEA succeed in subsea wiring project
Tekdata Interconnections has successfully completed custom wiring for an underwater analysis pod designed to operate up to 100 metres depth, enabling its customer, defence contractor Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd (SEA), to deliver the completed pod within tight constraints on time and cost.
/> SEA chose Tekdata for its expertise in areas such as hermetic feed-through connectors, high-performance sealing, signal grounding, thermal design, and specialist wiring skills to achieve robust and reliable interconnections within the confines of the pod’s compact, lightweight chassis.

Engaged to complete integration and assembly of the pod, SEA had been supplied with a number of subsystems, such as a potted transducer array that had been tested at depth of only two metres and was supplied without full documentation. To connect this array to the pod, Tekdata identified the exact interconnect arrangement using x-ray analysis and subsequently developed a corresponding feed-through. Five-level sealing prevents water ingress at extreme depths and creates a robust waterproof connection able to withstand any individual failure mode. Tekdata also designed a way of turning the discrete wires supplied with the array into a highly flexible pre-formed cable, passing through the feed-through, to accommodate the movement of the transducer panel’s hinged mounting.

Other off-the-shelf sub-assemblies supplied to the project required careful rework to meet the project’s functional and physical space requirements. Tekdata supported this activity by verifying and documenting the remedial actions needed to separate and isolate the earth and zero-volt circuits in the sub-assemblies. They also modified some assemblies to accommodate the special geometries of the case, and to fit into smaller spaces than allowed for in the original designs.

Tekdata also supported integration of the system cabling with the sub-assemblies and circuit boards within the pod, using its in-house workshop facilities to ensure correct fitting of all brackets and hardware as well as electrical isolation and efficient thermal connections to the pod chassis where required. To complete this phase of the project, Tekdata was able to call on wiring skills no longer maintained by many interconnect businesses, such as lacing, to ensure correct installation and layout of all harnessing. The team paid careful attention to ensure correct interconnect lengths, to maintain reliable communications between all pod subsystems avoiding effects such as signal skew.

“This was a complex project that called on numerous specialised skills and experience of high-reliability applications,” said Mark Howitt, Business Development Manager, Tekdata Interconnections. “In fact, very few companies in the world could have delivered the necessary support on a one-stop basis; particularly considering the short timeframe and tight cost pressures facing the project. And most companies would have needed vastly increased technical support and input from SEA.”

SEA and Tekdata are currently exploring other projects and programmes on which to work together under the same partnership principles. Seamus Brogan, Marine Business Director for SEA said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Tekdata Interconnections. We have achieved an extremely complex solution in a challenging timescale and I am actively seeking opportunities where we can work together in the future.”

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