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Seabotix Rugged, Capable, Compact ROV's.




This current interview features:

Buddy Mayfield
Outland Technology Founder

 

Background

•• I was born in New Orleans and raised in Slidell, Louisiana. A great influence in my life, my father, was with UDT4 (Underwater Demolition Team 4) in the World War II and was in the assault at Guam, Landing at Leyte, and Okinawa Operations. Another influence, my brother, joined the Navy in 1963 and became a Navy Diver. After leaving the Navy he went to work at Taylor Diving.

Once I graduated High school I tried to join the Military service but was rejected because I had lost vision in my right eye at the age of 12. I started Electronics school and just before graduating got my first real job in the "Taylor Navy". Taylor Diving and Salvage in Belle Chasse Louisiana was run by many retired Navy Divers and Master Divers. My brother was an Ex Navy Diver and got a job with them in 1967.

I started in 1969 and in a few months started working for Drew Michel in the electronics lab and built the electronics department from 2 technicians to 52 technicians and engineers, when I left in 1981. During that time we designed and built much of the equipment used in Diving and Saturation Diving and spent a great deal of time offshore in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
In the last few years at Taylor we bought many RCV-225s from Hydro Products and one RCV-150. After seeing that technology in action I was hooked. We started designing and building our own ROV. After leaving Taylor I started working for a Diving supply company building an ROV called Orca. In just 3 months we had a 200 lb ROV with 1/2hp thrusters and rented it out to fly pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. After 3 years I decided to start my own company, Outland Technology Inc., along with 2 other partners.

When we started Outland we only wanted to build Diver held camera systems. Complete packages where there was nothing else to buy and didn't have to have a technician to run them. After one year Charles Daussin (my partner) and I bought out our 3rd partner and continued our full time jobs elsewhere to supplement our income until we could go full time. I started work with Martin Marietta in 1986 and worked until 1991 on 2nd shift while working and building our company during the day. I learned a lot at Martin Marietta including designing and maintaining fiber optics systems, robotic welding systems, security systems, Computer maintenance and so many other things I can't list them all. I also completed my Bachelor's Degree in Engineering at the same time.

In 1996 we built a 6,000 sq. ft facility in my home town (Slidell, Louisiana) and moved both families to Slidell from the Westbank of New Orleans. In 1999 Charles and I looked around at the ROVs that were out there and saw a gap from the small ROVs to the middle ROVs. We thought a 30 to 40 lbs ROV (one man launchable) with plenty of thrust and special cameras and the ability to add other equipment would be a good seller. Charles and I started with building a good camera. Let’s face it the ROV is an eyeball first. Without good cameras the rest of the ROV is nothing. We ended up building a camera with 2 camera modules in it and the ability to tilt the camera 360 degrees. We used a .01 lux color 480 line camera and a .0003 lux 600 line B&W camera. We then started work on building the ROV around the camera. We started with the frame and thrusters. Outland designed all components from the circuit boards to the pressure housings and assembles them here. Except thrusters. We ended up using the Tecnadyne thrusters instead of trying to build a thruster and gave us more time to design and build the rest of the ROV. We had a working model at the UI2000 show in Houston and really impressed many customers. Of course the price tag made them shy away but we keep improving the ROV and eventually got our first orders from the US Navy. They were so impressed they bought 3 ROVs. Since then they have bought 4 more and the US army has bought 18 units. Oceaneering has bought 2 and Ashtead Technology has bought 2. We have sold several more for a total of 33 ROVs to date.

Outland Tech ROV’s

We at Outland have upgraded our ROV and tweaked it to do many things like a quality digital compass, gyro for auto heading, downloadable software, multiable cameras and sensors, grabber, sonar, metal detectors etc., but our customers all have their ideas about what they would like in an ROV. We have limited our depth to 500ft (150 meters) and limited our range to 500 ft because of many obstacles. Like voltage drop, pressure and the size of our company. I know this limits our sales but focuses on a target audience and gives us the ability to make the best ROV in our size range. We have lost several sales because we can't do a 2500 ft cable. Depth has not been an issue but range has. At present we do not have plans to go deeper and longer but we are always looking at the technology to do it but have been so busy building ROVs now I don't think we can meet the demand if we try to build everything our customers wanted.

At present we will stay focused at making our ROV better but will wait until our sales slow down to possibly add to our fleet another ROV that may go deeper and do more. We are always thinking and talking about it but we think Homeland security will keep our small ROV business really busy for the near future.


Outland Technology Inc.
38190 Commercial Ct.
Slidell, Louisiana, USA 70458
Ph 985-847-1104
Fx 985-847-1106
www.outlandtech.com




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