The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has partnered with subsea technology leader, Teledyne Marine, to open a new European Glider Service Centre.

The partners opened the doors to the world-leading centre today, which will expand glider usage for both science and industry and provide scientific support and repair facilities for Teledyne Slocum Gliders.

Based at the NOC’s engineering hub in Southampton, the Gilder Service Centre offers services to Slocum glider owners from across Europe, including sensor calibrations and pressure testing and will save businesses time and the expense of shipping systems to the US for servicing and upgrades. The centre is set to gradually increase its offer to include subassembly servicing (shallow and deep water pumps), and will eventually move into complete vehicle servicing, upgrades and repairs.

As autonomy increasingly leads the way in oceanic research, weather forecasting and naval operations; gliders are becoming an increasingly popular platform for sensor deployment thanks to unrivalled range, duration and cost savings.

The new centre will act as a central European hub to enable the NOC’s leading engineers to perform calibration on CTD’s (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth sensors) for autonomous gliders, additionally the service centre is also expanding its offerings to calibrate many optical and common AUV sensors utilizing the NOC’s own Calibration Laboratory. The centre will dramatically improve lead times along with reducing damage risks to sensors caused by additional transport and handling. Alongside the added pressure sensors, the centre will be equipped with two hyperbaric pressure testing tanks, to allow testing down to a 6,000m water depth equivalent and will enable NOC engineers to ensure all equipment are properly tested prior to deployment, helping to further streamline the use of autonomy within global research.

Commenting on the opening, Daniel Woods, Commercial Development Manager at National Oceanography Centre, said: “We’re really excited to be placing the UK’s National Oceanography Centre firmly at the heart of glider operations in Europe by establishing this Glider Service Centre. The new offering will create an excellent opportunity to work closely with partners across the industry, from those at the forefront of data modelling and acquisition to pilots, sensor manufacturers and research institutes to provide a fast and professional service to the European glider fleet.”

“Underwater gliders offer unrivalled advantages when it comes to sensor deployment and we therefore anticipate a huge increase in the fleet size and capability over the coming months and years as ocean science is decarbonised. The NOC will play a leading role in that journey, and we look forward welcoming our first gliders through the Glider Service Centre.”

Melissa Rossi, Senior Director for Customer Service, at Teledyne Marine, added: “Teledyne is focused on improving the customer experience for our expanding global Slocum user community. The new glider center at NOC, coupled with process improvements and additional staffing at our service center in North Falmouth, will provide customers with more options for service, calibrations and overall faster turn-around times at both locations, something that is essential for the Slocum community as we near the delivery of the 1000th Slocum glider this year.”

The NOC is at the heart of underwater glider operations in Europe, with extensive expertise in this niche field, making them uniquely qualified to offer this commercial service. The NOC operates the UK’s National Marine Equipment Pool, which includes Europe’s largest fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles that they have been successfully equipping, servicing and operating for extended scientific missions for over 15 years.

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