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Seabotix Rugged, Capable, Compact ROV's.




This current interview features:

Don Rodocker
Seabotix President and Founder


Background

--My entire adult life has revolved around the water in one aspect or another. Initially my interests were in diving in the frigid waters of Puget Sound. I was so intrigued by the mysterious undersea life that I would snorkel for 30 minutes without a wetsuit, warm up for half an hour and snorkel for another 20 minutes. I eventually went to SCUBA school, made myself a wetsuit. I was then able to dive for an hour and not shiver afterwards. Life was good.--

--After high school I joined the Navy where I became a diver on a submarine. Later I became a Saturation Diver at the tail end of the SeaLab Program where we made the world’s first 1,010 foot dive. During my ten years in the Navy I took the opportunity of learning anything anyone would teach me. I went through various engineering programs and even nuclear power school.--

--Just before getting out of the Navy, Chris DeLucchi and I started a company called Saturation Systems Inc. It was founded initially to do the first saturation dive for treasure, on the Andrea Doria, in 1973. Unfortunately, we were unable to salvage the treasure due to the extremely dangerous conditions inside the ship wreck. If we would have had a SeaBotix Little Benthic Vehicle (LBV) available, we may have brought up the treasure. However, we did get a lot of publicity, which allowed us to start manufacturing diving systems mostly for companies around the North Sea. Saturation Systems Inc. prospered for 5 years before the North Sea diving system manufacturers caught up technologically, which meant for us to compete, we had to eat the freight. Finally we had to shut the company down and I moved my family to Aberdeen Scotland, where all the serious diving action was taking place.--

--In Aberdeen, I first set up the UK operations for, Life Support Manufacturer, Kinergetics, after that I helped, diving pioneer, Al Krasberg with his "Return line diving system". Shortly there-after I started Gas Services Offshore Limited and developed the GasMizer Diver Gas Recovery system. Our first operational dive was on the HMS Edinburgh where the salvage team brought up 5 tons of Russian Gold from 807 feet of water. I am very proud of the development of the GasMizer Diver Gas Recovery System; by the fourth year of operation we had reduced the North Sea Helium consumption from over 300 million cubic feet per year down to less than 70 million cubic feet per year. Helium is a valuable, finite resource that should be preserved for future generations.--

--The success of Gas Services led to the formation of the Pressure Products Group of companies, which included Gas Services, Gas Supplies, Hyox Systems, Hydrovision, BioMarine and several others. Today many of these companies still exist such as Hydrovision, now SMD Hydrovision and the Pressure Products Group, now known as Divex. After I sold my remaining interests in 1991, I semi-retired and went sailing for a number of years.--

SeaBotix Inc.

--The LBV is a concept that I began working on in the early 90s after moving back from Scotland to Seattle.--

--The LBV concept was primarily based on my experience developing the Hydrovision Hyball ROV. I wanted a much smaller ROV that is easy to operate, has powerful thrusters, movement in all axis, full of features, all at an affordable price.--

--The challenge in building a compact ROV is making it; very capable and affordable at the same time. Reducing costs required significant investment in production tooling as well as innovative engineering.--

--From past experience we knew that a small ROV must have a small diameter Umbilical otherwise you end up with the Tail wagging the Dog syndrome due to umbilical drag. We aggressively set the design targets aiming for an unheard of 0.30 inch (<8mm) diameter umbilical.--

--A phase one prototype LBV was constructed and preliminary testing carried out. But at this time I fell victim to another passion, boating. The next several years I spent traveling on my long range cruiser. During long voyages at sea I would often take out my sketch book and work further on the LBV project. It was towards the end of the 90s that my son Jesse agreed to help me develop SeaBotix and we really focused on making LBV a reality. An advanced prototype LBV was released to the public at Underwater Intervention in 2001 where it became an instant success.--

--There have been many challenges since the conception of LBV mostly revolving around the electronics. Having weathered that storm we now have a well seasoned, outstanding team producing an excellent product. With more than 165 units in the field now we have ironed out all of the major teething issues.--

--SeaBotix prides itself in selling based on the merits of the LBV. I am convinced that LBV represents the best VALUE of any small ROV in production today. A bold statement I know, but when all systems are compared, no other ROV offers the same features, the same level of performance, the same level of service, all at an incredible value.--

--We have a team at SeaBotix that is extremely proactive in development and product improvement. We are continually enhancing the capability of our product range with deeper systems, longer cable lengths, increased power, more accessories, and other innovative new enhancements.--

--SeaBotix is a relatively new company with many ideas for future development. We listen to our clients and respond accordingly. User feedback has enabled us to craft the LBV into a system that suits the needs of many operators. You can expect to see a lot more innovative LBV enhancements in the future. We see continuous improvement as the key to our future success.--

Last featured interview:
Scott Bentley
Videoray President and Founder
Click here to read



 


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