This list provides mini ROV models weighing 2.5 to 40 kg in air,
starting with the heaviest models. Thus, machines that are
transportable by two men without exceeding 20 kg per person.
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What is commonly called Mini ROVs are light machines that are
transportable by hand (usually of less than 40 kg), easy to operate,
and usually less expensive than bigger class 1 and class 2
machines. They can be used for inspection and various light tasks
in oil and gas, renewable energies, and aquaculture industries. In
addition, they are often used for various scientific, security, and
military applications. Note that some companies operate them from
work-class ROVs or manned submersibles.
A recent report from Petronas company called “ Vessel-less
underwater inspection at fixed offshore structure by utilizing mini
remotely operated vehicle ”, written by Dave Chen Lung Chong, Ave
Suhendra Suhaili, Sok Mooi Ng, Wan Hariz Fadli Wan Shafie,
Biramarta Isnadi, Riaz Khan, Kheng Hoong Lau, Nurzarina Hassan, &
M Faqrudin B Ismail explains how this company has utilized such a
machine to perform General Visual Inspection (GVI), Cathodic
Potential (CP) Survey, Flooded Member Detection (FMD), & Ultrasonic
Thickness (UT) measurements on various offshore platforms.
The machine used for these campaigns was an “Outland 2500”
(http://www.outlandtech.com/rov-2500-model), which weight was
29.5 kg and size 71 cm long x 52 cm wide x 38 cm high; it was
launched from boat landings and decks, sometimes using a davit
and a cage. The authors say that due to its small size and its
reduced weight, it was easy to handle, capable of entering
restricted areas, easy to maneuver, better to capture images for
close visual inspection, and quickly mobilized.
These operations, which were successfully completed, allowed
30%-50% cost savings compared to the methods previously used
by this company. It must be noted that the procedures described in
this report were classical with very small machines in the past and
are still used in other places. Thus, we can say that this PETRONAS
team rediscovered them (Which does not remove them from the
merit to have organized these operations).
Another point is that smaller machines than the one described in
this report are available today. Some models can be transported in a
haversack and utilized for visual inspection and monitoring divers
operating from light boats or facilities where heavy equipment
cannot be used.
Of course, these very small machines have many limitations:
Their reduced power limits their ability to operate when strong
underwater currents are established.
Most models are not equipped with Tether Monitoring System
(TMS), so it has to be managed manually. Also, that makes them
more sensitive to the influence of underwater currents. Of
course, the absence of TMS bans the use of these machines
from DP vessels.
They are not powerful enough to energize tools other than those
described above for the most mighty ones.
The reliability of these machines and the technical support
provided by the manufacturers are also to be considered.
Working from petroleum & gas production facilities with such
portable ROVs can be complicated due to the proximity of
“hazardous areas” (zones #0, #1, and #2) because, unlike
ROVs installed on rigs, they are not provided with pressurized
cabins that avoid harmful and explosive gasses invading the
control and machinery rooms.
See below a list of models sold by the ROV manufacturers
registered on this website.
Note that ROV manufacturers are displayed in Logistics / ROV