Inclinometer Sensors for Subsea Drilling

SUBSEA underwater marine inclinometer Vanoord subsea inclinometer application


Van Oord is a Dutch family-owned company with 150 years of experience as an international marine contractor. The focus is on dredging, land infrastructure in the Netherlands, offshore wind, and oil & gas infrastructure. Its head office is in Rotterdam. Van Oord employs 5,000 staff, who worked in 2019 on two hundred projects in forty-four countries. The fleet consists of about seventy vessels and a large amount of special purpose and auxiliary equipment. Marine ingenuity is characteristic of Van Oord. By using innovative, smart, and sustainable solutions, it wishes to contribute to a better world for future generations.

The Application

Van Oord needed a high accuracy inclinometer sensor for underwater use to monitor its Subsea Drilling Templates (SDT) in each of the three sleeves. SDTs are structures placed temporarily on the seabed and used to support drilling activities and install pin pile foundations which will eventually support a jacket foundation and wind turbine. During drilling activity, it is critical that the SDT remains level and therefore the inclination needs to be constantly monitored.

The Challenge

Van Oord had reached out to Level Developments to source inclinometer sensors for their Subsea Drilling Template (SDT) and help support their drilling activities. The sensor needed to be suitable for long term subsea use, compact, pressure rated to 500m seawater depth, accurate over time and a wide range of temperatures and reliable. It also needed to have a reliable subsea electrical connection and interface with the existing control systems

The Solution

Level Developments designed the SUBSEA-2 series inclinometers specifically for installation on underwater structures or equipment and for use up to 500m below sea level. They are a range of high-performance dual axis tilt sensors for measurement of angle in both pitch and roll axes while submerged in sea water. Each unit is fitted with an industry standard SubConn Micro connector. Not only did Level Developments design and manufacture the SUBSEA-2 sensors up to the customer’s requirements, but the sensors were also tested at a seawater depth of 1000m at Oceanlab’s Offshore Equipment Testing Centre, a specialist facility in Aberdeen.

The Benefit

The SDT consisted of three ‘sleeves,’ one for each pin pile foundation. Van Oord had mounted one inclinometer in the vicinity of each sleeve.

Having three inclinometers provided by Level Developments effectively spread across the SDT meant Van Oord could monitor the inclination across the whole structure and continuously compare the sensors to each other.

The Subsea inclinometers, as described by Van Oord, are compact in size, robust, cost efficient, simple to; mount, use, maintain and operate, have no moving parts meaning less chance of damaging the sensor from vibrations or impact, are rated for subsea use, making it a perfect product for sea based projects and have accuracy better than ±0.05°.

Visit our SUBSEA inclinometer product page for more information on individual specifications, certifications, and datasheet information.

“We were pleased with the pro-activeness and support offered from Level Development from an early stage; their willingness to assist in development of the sensor to meet our requirements, for example, the ruggedized subsea housing, integration of the subconn connector, in addition to the general performance characteristics of the sensor itself.”