UK: WFS Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

WFS, global leader in subsea wireless instrumentation and control solutions to the offshore Oil and Gas and Renewables industries, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Founded in 1993, the company has developed unique technology that enables subsea wireless communications, networking, location and power transfer.

WFS is helping operators and service companies work around the challenges of subsea wet-mating to improve safety, reliability and efficiency. The company has delivered more than 6,000 wireless products across the globe and secured design-ins with major blue-chip customers in the O&G, Renewables, and Consumer & Defence industries.

Systems have been deployed in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and SE Asia for many applications, including:

  • Wireless subsea video streaming: to improve operational efficiency and reliability for ROVs
  • Wireless integrity management: to support retrofit of sensors on ageing assets for life of field extension
  • Wireless instrumentation and dataloggers: data gathering using ROVs and AUVs to deliver fast, reliable and low cost data without physical connections
  • Wireless power transfer: to provide ultra-high reliability connections for subsea vehicles and control systems
  • Wireless control of subsea equipment: as primary or backup, to provide operational flexibility and enhanced reliability

WFS launched seatooth®, the world’s first commercially available underwater radio modem to the subsea market in 2006. 2007 saw the expansion of the seatooth® family with the launch of the first underwater wireless broadband data link followed by the first hybrid radio/acoustic modem. In 2010, the compact version of seatooth® arrived, closely followed by a subsea wireless video camera, viewtooth® in 2011.

seatooth® is based on radio frequency technology (RF) and is unique in that it performs in the most adverse water conditions; it is unaffected by acoustic noise and biofouling, is omnidirectional and immune from multipath. Unlike other subsea wireless methods, WFS’s products enable data transmission across ground/water/air boundaries. As a result, seatooth® is transforming communication and control applications in subsea environments.

Along the way WFS has collected many awards for seatooth® from the likes of the UK’s Ministry of Defence and OTC’s Spotlight on New Technology. The company is a founding member of SWIG (the Subsea Wireless Group), an industry initiative focusing on the development of open standards for wireless communications underwater. The initiative is supported by leading companies in the oil and gas sector, from Operators and Service Companies to Controls Vendors and Technology Providers. The aim is to create a standard similar to Bluetooth, the wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances in air, and support interoperability between subsea wireless systems.

“Our business is built on helping customers to save time and money whilst improving reliability and safety, “ says Brendan Hyland, Chairman of WFS. “Solutions based on seatooth® have become a routine choice for operators and service companies who need to ensure reliable data and power transmission in challenging subsea environments.

“It is thanks to the world-class R&D, Engineering, Commercial and Operations teams that WFS has become the global leader in subsea wireless instrumentation and control solutions. We’re very proud of reaching this milestone,” continues Hyland. “In an exciting and growing industry, we’re looking forward to working with our customers to support their increased needs for subsea instrumentation and control.”

Press release, April 17, 2013; Image: wfs

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