The Underwater Centre in Fort William is to be the first diver training centre in the world to offer Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM) courses.
As the world's leading subsea training facility, The Underwater Centre specialises in the delivery of diver and ROV pilot training and offers unique facilities for testing and trialing new technology.
ACFM builds on Non Destructive Testing (NDT) methods of assessing the integrity of subsea facilities and equipment. An electromagnetic inspection technique, whereby a probe feeds data directly to the surface, ACFM measures deviations in magnetic field which can then be easily quantified and analysed using specialist software. The technique also means there is no requirement for exposing the test area and divers can conduct inspections without first having to scrape, clean or de-grease the test area or painting or replacing coatings after inspection.
The introduction of the ACFM course is part of The Underwater Centre's ongoing plan to provide a wider range of skilled, industry relevant subsea training courses. The course will familiarise students with the principles of interpreting and quantifying ACFM data collected by divers.
Making the announcement at OTC, the world's largest oil and gas show in Houston, Steve Ham, general manager of The Underwater Centre said, "We're delighted to be able to offer the industry this opportunity to have employees trained in ACFM inspection. As a global training provider, we fully equip students to be successful in the workplace and this new course underlines the fact we are responding to what the industry wants.
"ACFM techniques mean all inspection data can be electronically saved, making it simple to compare previous inspection data and allowing assessments on degradation rate to be made. Ultimately it is a faster, more reliable and accurate subsea inspection technique that more and more companies in the industry are switching to.
"The Underwater Centre offers students the chance to train in an industry specific environment so they are able to experience first hand the challenges and demands of critical inspection work. ACFM is a technique that is becoming more widely used across a range of industry sectors around the world and this course will offer not just divers and other offshore workers, but all inspection engineers the chance to broaden their knowledgebase and make them more of an asset to employers."
ACFM inspection is approved by a range of certifying authorities including Lloyds, DNV, ABS, Bureau Veritas and OCB to SNT TC1A recommended practice.
Based at the head of Loch Linnhe, The Underwater Centre offers a unique, sheltered, seawater site with a large private pier extending into the loch. The waters plunge to depths of 150 meters, which are ideal conditions for commercial diving.
The one week long ACFM training courses will begin at The Underwater Centre in August 2009.