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TAUT WIRE

The Taut Wire Principle

The purpose of the Taut Wire is to give accurate


input data relating to vessel movements to the
vessel’s associated data processing system for
processing and subsequent vessel position
correction.

The Taut Wire position reference system is mainly


mechanical in principle, not reliant on
transmissions through air or water. Position
reference is obtained from measurements of wire
angle and water depth, the position of the vessel
being defined relative to the location of the
stationary weight.

A Light Weight Taut Wire system consists of a


constant tension winch unit fitted on deck with a
boom or “A”-frame projecting over the side of the
vessel. Wire from the winch drum passes over a
sheave at the end of the boom, through a gimbal
head, terminating in the depressor weight.

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Taut Wire Position Reference Systems Basic Operator Course
Training Manual

weight
Depressor
Vertical When the depressor weight is deployed on the
seabed, the wire rope is tightened against the
weight, and the wire length is obtained from a
measuring device driven by the moving wire.
Subsequent movements of the vessel are
accommodated by the spooling of the winch,
while wire angles to the vertical, both in the
angle
longitudinal and in the athwartships plane, are
Wire continuously monitored by the sensor unit at
the end of the boom.

The signals are sent to the DP system, where


they are used to calculate the vessel’s
position.

The system continually corrects input data for values of roll and pitch such that wire angles
are relative to the true vertical instead of the local ship vertical.

The Taut Wire (TW) System


There are three types of Taut Wire systems:

Light Weight Taut Wire

The Light Weight Taut Wire is an over-the-


side position reference system measuring the
wire length from boom-tip to seabed, and
difference in angle between the wire and
vertical plane.

Moon Pool Taut Wire

The Moon Pool Taut Wire is suitable for


vessels operating in surface ice conditions. It
is mounted inboard with a depressor weight
deployed through the bottom of the vessel
through a small moon pool or wet well.

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Training Rev. 04
Basic Operator Course Position Reference Systems Taut Wire
Training Manual

Surface Taut Wire

The Surface Taut Wire gives position


reference relative to a fixed structure
(platform, buoy, etc.).

The Taut Wire System is robust and reliable, in addition to being accurate. Maintenance is
necessary, but this is under the control of the vessel operator, there is no remote or
inaccessible equipment involved. Spare wires and weights can be carried onboard and the
system may be regularly oiled and serviced to schedule. A worn, stranded or frayed wire can
be replaced.

The system can be used for water depths ranging from shallow water to 1000 m.

Light Weight Taut Wire (LTW)

Wire
angle

Depressor
weight
Seabed

When the weight is placed on the seabed, the wire length is read by the system. Subsequent
movements of the vessel are accommodated by the spooling of the winch, while wire angles to
the vertical are continuously monitored by the sensor units at the end of the boom. The system
continually corrects input data for values of roll and pitch. Corrections are also applied to
allow for the offset distance of the position of the sensor head relative to the centre of rotation
of the vessel.

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Rev. 04 Training
Taut Wire Position Reference Systems Basic Operator Course
Training Manual

A taut wire computer is needed when using the taut wire for depths from around 500 m. The
associated data processing system program contains an accurate model of the dynamics of the
vessel which simulates the vessel’s response to various forces. Thus the software model to
generate appropriate corrective commands to the vessel’s propeller and rudder system will
process deviations in the specified position of the vessel.

Moon Pool Taut Wire

Wire
angle

Depressor
weight Seabed

The Moon Pool Taut Wire is mounted inboard with a depressor weight deployed through the
bottom of the vessel through a small moon pool or wet well. The gimbal head is incorporated
into an elevator unit that is lowered from the stowage level down to the keel level, from where
the weight and wire are lowered. Movement compensation is provided by hydraulic
accumulator, and positioning data is obtained and processed in the same way as in the Light
Weight Taut Wire system.

For the Moon Pool Taut Wire a disadvantage arises in shallow water. Since the gimbal head is
that much closer to the seabed than with a deck mounted unit, the horizontal scope of the
system, which already is limited in shallow water, is further reduced.

Operating Procedure
1. Switch on and start up the system.
2. Fit the guide bar and lower the depressor weight to the automatic stop position, just
below the bottom of the moon pool shaft.
3. Withdraw the guide bar.
4. Lower the elevator and secure it.
5. Lower the depressor weight to the sea bed.
6. Set the system to automatic operation.

The system is now ready for use with the DP system.

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Training Rev. 04
Basic Operator Course Position Reference Systems Taut Wire
Training Manual

Surface Taut Wire

The Surface Taut Wire gives position reference relative to a fixed structure ( platform, buoy,
etc.).

The wire is passed across to the platform adjacent and secured. No boom is needed, instead
the sensor is located atop a short vertical tower. The principles are the same as for the vertical
taut wire systems.

The range for a Surface Taut Wire System is around 50 m. For longer distances the accuracy
would be reduced due to the curvature of the wire.

Operating Procedure
The control panel is located on the electrical compartment of the taut wire.

1. Switch on and start the system.


2. Wind out and attach the wire rope.
3. Tension the rope.

The system is now ready for use with the DP system.

Aug 04  Kongsberg Maritime AS Page 6.57


Rev. 04 Training
Taut Wire Position Reference Systems Basic Operator Course
Training Manual

Limitations of the System

Limitation Angle
The software is set up with an alarm at 20° angle. There is a 35° mechanical limitation angle
of the gimbal head, but the wire would in any case be hitting the bilge keel before the 35°
angle is reached. The risk of dragging the weight increases with larger angle.

Deep Water
The specific gravity of the depressor weight together with the current cause the wire to curve,
and the result is reduced accuracy. To increase the accuracy in deep water (to around 10 m at
500 m depth), a vessel and angle deviation estimator based on the Kalman filter technique is
employed, the calculations done by the taut wire computer.
Sea Bed
The sea bed can be a cluttered place; there is often a requirement for a certain distance of free
space around pipe lines, control lines and other sea bed installations, and therefore care has to
be taken for deployment of the weight. Hard surfaces may allow dragging.
No geographical Reference
There is no geographical reference for position, so in terms of geographical co-ordinates it
cannot be known exactly where the weight is. Since position reference is from the weight,
exact co-ordinates for the ship are not available.
Power Demand
The taut wire requires a continuous power supply and uses a fairly large amount of power
compared with other position reference systems. It is wired directly into the main switchboard.

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