Commentary

Balmoral ROV buoyancy featuring aerospace bonding won’t let you down

Commentary - 26 May 2021

Balmoral ROV buoyancy featuring aerospace bonding won’t let you down

 
By Gregg Stewart, Technical Manager

By Gregg Stewart

Technical Manager

Balmoral's ultra-low density syntactic foam (LDF) is typically used in ROV / AUV / HOV / XLUUV buoyancy at depths to 7000msw.

The syntactic foams are specifically developed using premium low-density materials and specialised production processes to maximise uplift and permit long-term performance under the most demanding conditions.

Balmoral ROV buoyancy is manufactured in our custom designed LDF production area at Aberdeen HQ. Due to the sheer scale of finished ROV buoyancy blocks and, in recognition that it is impractical to cast ultra-low density buoyancy syntactic blocks as a single entity, it is typical to manufacture smaller LDF ‘slab stock’ which is bonded to a near-net shape and subsequently CNC-machined in Balmoral’s 'machine shop' to final, precise dimensions.

Block bonding

A critical aspect of successful ROV buoyancy manufacture and long-term integrity and performance is the block bonding process; our procedures were developed in conjunction with a global leader in adhesive technology with vast experience in the field.

The resulting bond strength has been evaluated through overlap shear testing at our state-of-the-art polymer test laboratory. Balmoral selected a two-part, premium aerospace-grade adhesive which has an extensive and successful track record in service.

As well as tightly controlling bond thickness, Balmoral’s dedicated ROV buoyancy assembly team is trained in carefully preparing the bonded surfaces of the block before application of the adhesive.

Our block bonding process results in a consistent bond thickness across the entire structure and a strength that is stronger than the parent LDF syntactic itself, evident as cohesive failure through the syntactic during overlap shear testing.

Customised finishing

Following bonding and CNC-machining to final dimensions, the buoyancy block is finished to individual customer specifications that can include application of a tough GRE skin, abrasion and impact-resistant polyurethane sprayed skin and/or spray painted mirror-finish to specific colour requirements.

Balmoral’s on-site team of development technologists and engineers continually review and optimise all materials and manufacturing processes to ensure continuous improvement, cost optimisation and product longevity.

Contact our specialist LDF team to learn more about our unique in-house capabilities.

Even bond thickness in bonded slab-stock
Even bond thickness in bonded slab-stock

Balmoral’s even bond thickness in bonded slab-stock

Model of CNC-machined LDF finished in tough marine grade paint

Model of CNC-machined LDF finished in tough marine grade paint

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Balmoral Comtec Ltd
Balmoral Park, Loirston, Aberdeen AB12 3GY | +44 (0)1224 859000 | surety@balmoral.co.uk
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