From the Field - Imagenex
Imagenex Launches New Multibeam Imaging Sonar
Imagenex was originally founded in 1988 and is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For nearly 30 years, the company has designed and manufactured a variety of sonar products including sidescan, mechanical scanning, multibeam, single beam echo sounders, and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) kits designed with low-power electronics.
The company’s product line includes user friendly sonar for water deployment to full ocean depth. Their multibeam, sidescan and sector-scan imaging sonars have been used to locate shipwrecks, downed aircraft, pipelines, cables, anchors, and lost cargo. Suitable for a multitude of applications, Imagenex sonars have been used for inspections, underwater engineering and construction, offshore oil and gas exploration, underwater archaeology, and environmental surveys. For more information, visit http://imagenex.com.
The Imagenex Model 965A 1.1 Mhz is an advanced, highspeed, high-resolution, multibeam imaging sonar system that has been designed to provide simple, reliable, and accurate representation of underwater images.
Recently, ON&T sat down with sales manager Steve Curnew to catch up on the company’s newest technology.
ON&T: Could you talk about the new product launch from Imagenex?
Curnew: Our newly designed hardware platform, Xi, has been in development for just over a year now, and we are pleased to finally roll out our first product sporting the new Xi platform: the 965A Multibeam Imaging Sonar.
ON&T: What are some of the differences with the new platform?
Curnew: It’s faster. It allows faster sampling rates, and it is newer technology. Everyone talks about high frame rates or video-like frame rates, and that’s what this new platform does for us. It allows us to have higher frame rates. It gives us a smooth digital image, so that when you are panning across something, there is a smooth tracking to it. It also works very well for short-range imaging. We have found it works well in ranges less than 2 m. Within less than 1-m range, we can get nice images of even small items, things in the 6-mm diameter range and smaller. This works especially nicely if you are working in areas where your video camera just is not working, like in low visibility environments like turbid or black water.
ON&T: What are some of the benefits of the new 965A multibeam?
Curnew: The benefits of the new 965A are it’s lighter— only 45 gm in water. It’s more compact and can be easily integrated into the smallest of ROVs and other platforms, with faster processing capability for real- time high-resolution imaging performance and simple installation/operation on your laptop PC. The new Xi electronics hardware platform is one of the biggest technological advancements for us so far.
ON&T: Where does this fit in your current line of multibeam sonars?
Curnew: The 965A offers an excellent price/performance ratio, making it a very appealing solution for micro-, small-, and mid-size inspection class ROVs. We have already incorporated and tested an internal Ethernet extender to ensure two-wire copper umbilical compatibility for those vehicles already in the field. You may be looking to update your sonar technology without having to pay the high cost of upgrading to a fiber optic umbilical.
BlackFin sidescan image of the wreck of the ex-minesweeper VT100 in Bedwell Bay, Port Moody, BC.
ON&T: Imagenex has also launched a new high-resolution sidescan. Can you tell us about that?
Curnew: Yes, another new product is our full-featured dual channel high-resolution sidescan sonar, the BlackFin, which is available in a towed solution or as an OEM kit for vehicle integration. The 1.1-MHz BlackFin creates very crisp and accurate images of the survey area. It is very cost effective, portable, and one-man deployable and connects easily to an Ethernet port on a Windows based PC.
ON&T: You also have another new product, which is the gyro stabilized sonar. Could you tell us about that?
Curnew: The gyro stabilized sonar still provides you the ability to scan 360 degrees, so it is a mechanical scanning sonar. There is a benefit there as opposed to just a forward-looking sonar, where you only have a field of view in front of the ROV. The two complement each other on some vehicles where you may want to have one of each sonar— one for navigating and finding longer-range targets while the other is used for more near-field inspection in front of the vehicle.
With the -GS sonar, we integrate a gyro and a compass and the two together help steer the transducer to where it should be scanning regardless of any kind of rotational movement of the sonar or the platform it is mounted to. With that, you get crystal clear imaging and smearless data when your platform is moving toward its target location. We can offer a suite of underwater imaging tools for a variety of vehicles and applications.