eBird® seismic streamer control

Kongsberg Seatex' eBird® is a high-tech solution to control streamers towed behind a vessel. eBird controls rotation and horizontal and vertical positioning. This gives seismic companies a unique opportunity to have full control over the streamers throughout the operation including launching and recording.

In maritime seismic operations, 1 to 16 seismic cables, known as streamers, are towed behind a vessel. Typically such streamers are from 4,000 to 10,000 meters long. A seismic vessel will tow these cables with speed of 4.5 knots. The depth and shape of the streamers is controlled with special devices attached on the cables, so-called "birds". Rapid development in the industry has led to longer streamers and higher numbers per vessel, which in turn creates a need for greater control over the streamer.

Kongsberg Seatex wanted to develop a better management solution and contacted Inventas to strengthen the existing development team. Inventas has contributed in the entire process from concept development through prototyping to industrialisation. eBird was launched in autumn 2009.

Integrated solution with removable wings

While many of the traditional “birds” hang beneath the streamer, eBird actually is part of the streamer. The solution consists of a main body of titanium connecting the streamer sections, and three plastic wings that can be easily installed or removed by hand. One of the advantages of removing the wings is that the  titanium body can be winched up onto the drum with the streamers.

Titanium was chosen to obtain sufficient strength and resistance against various forms of corrosion. The wings are molded of glass fiber reinforced plastic, containing electronics and other components. Wireless power and signal transmission was developed to avoid contact connections between the body and the wings. This simplifies assembly work in the field and reduces the risk of water penetration and wear.

Awarded design

eBird received the Award for Design Excellence and was nominated for the prestigious Honors Award for Design Excellence, awarded by the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture in 2011. From the jury statement:

«eBird is a wonderfully innovative idea that maintains an ingenious system. It is styled for existence under water and communicates level of high technology. The mechanical side is compelling and form follows function. Ergonomics, usage and work for installers are well looked, which is important with many devices on board. [...] the product has a visual quality with a marketing potential for Kongsberg Seatex.»