Home Associations Time to talk PLCs in diving systems
Jane Bugler

Jane Bugler

Since 2010 diving systems featuring programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have undergone rapid development. With use of these systems set to continue to rise, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has taken the initiative to future-proof by organising a workshop in Amsterdam on 11 March 2015 to discuss the big issues.

“The workshop will be a great opportunity for members using PLCs in diving systems to get involved, it could shape future guidance, ” explains Jane Bugler, IMCA’s Technical Director. “PLCs are digital computers used for the automation of industrial processes. Since the mid-1980s industry has placed increasing reliance on programmable safety-related systems and PLCs are now used in many industries including the offshore oil and gas industry.

“For example, they may be found in vessel DP systems, drilling machinery, offshore cranes and offshore diving systems. They have been used in the past to control bell mating and launch and recovery systems, but are now being found in almost every aspect of some saturation diving systems, including dive control, life support systems, and chamber environments.

“It is clear that in the future the use of PLCs in dive systems and the number of dive systems reliant on them is only going to increase – yet the diving industry as a whole knows little about the implications and impact these developments may have. It appears that most of the information and operational experience is held by just a few companies, and there seems to be very little guidance available about how they work, how to audit/monitor the systems and the consequences of failure. Recent incidents have only emphasised this point – hence the need for our March workshop.”

Workshop aims

  • The workshop has seven key aims:
  • To bring together experts in the design and operation of PLC-based diving systems
  • To assess the impact of the use of PLCs in diving systems
  • To discuss the training and development needs of staff working with PLC-based diving systems
  • To consider how best to monitor, audit and maintain PLC-based diving systems
  • To share experiences to date
  • To evaluate the need for more industry guidance on the subject
  • To share knowledge and establish a way forward.

The day-long workshop will be free to attend, but delegates, and those wanting to be involved in any way, should register their interest in advance at events@imca-int.com

Further information
Further information on IMCA and its work on behalf of its 1000+ member companies in over 60 countries is available fromwww.imca-int.com and imca@imca-int.com. The association has LinkedIn and Facebook groups and its Twitter handle is @IMCAint
About IMCA

  • IMCA is an international association with well over a thousand members in more than 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and South America regions. As well as a core focus on safety, the environment, competence and training, IMCA seeks to promote its members’ common interests, to resolve industry-wide issues and to provide an authoritative voice for its members.
  • IMCA Vision & Strategy. As a result of work and collective input in 2013, IMCA has redefined its stated core purpose to be “Improving performance in the marine contracting industry”. To achieve this goal, IMCA’s Vision & Strategy has been devised with two elements in mind: Core activities and ways of working.
  • IMCA publishes some 200 guidance notes and technical reports – many are available for free downloading by members and non-members alike. These have been developed over the years and are extensively distributed. They are a definition of what IMCA stands for, including widely recognised diving and ROV codes of practice, DP documentation, marine good practice guidance, the Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID) – now available electronically as eCMID, safety recommendations, outline training syllabi and the IMCA competence scheme guidance. In addition to the range of printed guidance documents, IMCA also produces safety promotional materials, circulates information notes and distributes safety flashes.

About the industry IMCA serves
The marine contracting industry plays a vital global role. Its vessels account for 4% of the world’s maritime fleet. Collectively IMCA members employ some 350, 000 people and have an annual turnover of around $150bn. They work in all the world’s major offshore areas, delivering large offshore oil and gas and marine renewables projects around the globe that quite literally fuel the global economy.

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