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Publication numberUS3184541 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 18, 1965
Filing dateJan 10, 1963
Priority dateJan 10, 1963
Publication numberUS 3184541 A, US 3184541A, US-A-3184541, US3184541 A, US3184541A
InventorsFoster Kenneth W, Geer Ronald L
Original AssigneeShell Oil Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underwater television camera mounting providing three directions of movement for thecamera
US 3184541 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3 Sheets-Sheet 1 o 5 7 4 4 H R m E H J n" w R M u l'l I II E i l 1 I l n F E Q m r I G T I a I 5 w A {Hutu} 1 L H G G I l I I H R L 1 a n F s T 0 a I. R E .L H k o N A 1 13 L 1 1 T m 9 N l i M E K R W w W H w 2 .I

FOSTER ETAL UNDERWATER TELEVISION CAMERA MOUNTING PROVIDING THREE May 18, 1965 w.

DIRECTIONS OF MOVEMENT FOR THE CAMERA Filed Jan. 10, 1963 May 18, 1965 K. w. FOSTER ETAL 3,184,541 UNDERWATER TELEVISION CAMERA MOUNTING PROVIDING THREE DIRECTIONS OF MOVEMENT FOR THE CAMERA Filed Jan. 10, 1963 :s Sheets-Shet 2 i f wso i I 5 I Y I 33 3 A w 1 V 1 (a 3 1 1 I 7 1 I i l/ 46 i1 50 i g 5 6| 5 i 1 1 l a a 55 I y i i 53 l i 3 U 1 a O Y 52 f C F;

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mvsmons:

KENNETH W. FOSTER RONALD L. GEER THEIR ATTORNEY y 18, 1955 K. w. FOSTER ETAL 3,184,541

UNDERWATER TELEVISION CAMERA MOUNTING PROVIDING THREE DIRECTIONS 0F MOVEMENT FDR THE CAMERA Filed Jan. 10, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Qs j i 82 B3 37 I g 53 I 13 i s I07 I es 1 7| |os- I09 72 4 w w 64 V i 77 lOl--;- -102 I 4 i ---re lo:u I M 7 r f r ,y Q n r 7 T 80 8| 4o loo-7 g-E j 94 100w 1% E 95 [Ag I 9o Q HQ E 93 \i IQ j I04" y 9i 1 85 ll 1 86 k 97* g 92 I 84 ens no i V 44 s7 s1 66 e? 1 i l l} I FIG. 3 i

1' 1 I! I i I 1 I q FIG. 4 INVENTORSI KENNETH W. FOSTER RONALD L. GEER THEIR ATTORNEY States The present invention relates to an inspection system for observing installations submerged in relatively deep bodies of water. More particularly, the invention is directed to a system adapted to be used in the observation of underwater wells located at offshore locations which are being drilled in the ocean door for geological information and the production of petroleum.

Recently, in attempts to locate new oil fields, an increasing amount of well drilling has been conducted at otishore locations, such for example, as off the coast of Louisiana, Texas and California. As a general rule, in these attempts the wells are provided with strings of casing and tubing which extend to a point above the sur face of the water at the offshore location of the well. Extending the casing and tubing strings above the surface of the water has the advantage that the strings may be closed and operated by surface-type procedures, with a conventional wellhead assembly being attached to the top of the casing. Extending the well strings and the wellhead assembly secured thereto to the surface of the water at offshore locations has the obvious disadvantage, however, that the extended structure presents a hazard to navigation and is also subject to the corrosive action of saltwater and air. Furthermore, when operating at depths ranging in hundreds of feet, the extension of well strings to the surface of the water often becomes infeasible as a practical matter. In order to avoid the disadvantages accompanying the extension of offshore well strings to the surface of the water, attempts have recently been made to provide methods and apparatus for drilling and completing offshore wells wherein both the Well casinghead and subsequently the wellhead assembly and casinghcad closure device are located underwater at a depth suflicient to allow ships to pass over them. Preferably, the casinghead and wellhead closure assemblies are located close to the ocean floor to avoid all disadvantages accompanying the exten sion of legnths of well string above the floor of the ocean. In locating equipment in this manner, depths are often encountered exceeding the relatively shallow depth at which a diver can safely and easily operate, and thus it has been necessary to design new equipment and procedures for this purpose. Copending application Serial No. 830,538, filed July 30, 1959, and entitled Underwater Well Completion Method, describes a method of completing offshore wells on the ocean floor.

The drilling and completion of underwater or oilshore wells is generally carried out from stationary structures rigidly anchored to the underwater formation. However, with the above-mentioned underwater completion procedure, and in situations where the depth of water being worked in is greater than 100 feet, it has been found desirable, if not absolutely necessary, to carry out drilling, completion, producing and workover operations from floating stations located at thesurface ot the body of water. When working on wells in the latter manner, difticulties are encountered in running equipment to and from the well and in operating structures secured to the well, such as producing wellhead assemblies. These difficulties result from the relative movement which takes place between the floating station and the underwater well as a result of wind and wave action on the floating station and from the severe underwater environment. The difficulties 'ice become particularly acute when lowering components to the underwater well installation, or when relocating the well to continue drilling or workover operations previously interrupted for some reason.

In an effort to avoid the problems encountered in the operation of offshore wells from floating stations, various types of guide systems have been developed and used for guiding wellhead components and opcratingrneans to and from underwater well installations. These systems have not, however, proved infallible and it is often found desirable to make visual observation of the underwater well installation and the equipment being used in combination therewith. For example, where the guide system includes flexible guide lines extending from the underwater well installation to the floating operating station, these lines may become twisted or fouled and, thus ineffective for proper guidance of components to the underwater installation. The present invention is designed to make visual observation of underwater installations possible and to thus remedy and avoid problems resulting from fouling of guidance systems used with the underwater installations. Furthermore, the invention facilitates the remote operation of submerged wellhead components, such as producing wellhead assemblies, under all circumstances, even those where the guidance systems are not functioning ideally.

The present invention is particularly designed for use with underwater well installations having guide lines extending therefrom to floating operating stations. Aforementioned copending application Serial No. 830,538 discloses an underwater completion system with which the invention is well suited to be used. The invention is particularly adapted for use with underwater completion systems incorporating guide lines, since the apparatus of the invention utilizes these guide lines to facilitate its operation.

Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide a means to observe underwater installations remotely and thus facilitate the operation of these installations.

Another and more specific object of the invention is to provide a means of remotely operating installations disposed in considerable depths of water through use of the guidance and operating systems already in use with such installations.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an underwater observation system including remotely operable positioning means to facilitate observation of specific locations.

The above and other objects of the invention will become apparent when viewed in light of the following description and accompanying illustrations.

Briefly, the present invention provides an inspection system for observing an installation submerged in a relatively deep body of water. The system includes an operating station located at the surface of the body of water in a position above the submerged installation and at least one guide line extending between this station and the installation. The system further includes a carriage slidably received on the guide line and means scoured to said carriage for selectively controlling its depth within the body of water. A camera is secured to the carriage for selective pivotal and lateral movement with respect thereto through remotely operable motion imparting means. The system also includes transmission means cooperating between the operating station and the carriage to transmit images from the camera to the operating station and to transmit operating signals to said motion imparting means. Control of the system is accomplished through means of operators carried by the station and cooperating with the transmission means.

The invention will now be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic elevational view illustrating an underwater well installation having a floating drilling or workover station positioned thereabove, which installation and station have guide lines extending therebetween to which the system of the present invention may be applied;

FIGURE.2 is a perspective view of the observation carriage of the system, as received on the guide lines illustrated in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a vertical section diagrammatically illustrating the interior details of the pan and tilt mechanism of the carriage illustrated in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a longitudinal section of the lateral extension boom used on the carriage illustrated in FIG- URE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a vertical section diagrammatically illustrating the interior details of the hydraulic equipment housing used to supply fluid pressure to the lateral extension boom of FIGURE 4; and

FIGURE 6 is an elevational view of the control and observation panel used with the system of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGURE 1 in detail, therein is illustrated a body of water 10 having a floor 11 into which a well how 12 has penetrated. As illustrated, a casing 13 is cemented in the well bore and has extending upwardly therefrom a 'casinghead 14. The casing 13 and casinghead 14 form part of a drilling or a production installation, including a platform 15 through which the casing 13 extends into communication with the casinghead 14. The casinghead 14 is capped by a wellhead producing assembly 16 which houses control means for the well cooperating therewith. The production installation further includes guide columns 17 and 20 fixed to the platform 15 and extending upwardly therefrom at positions spaced around the wellhead assembly 16. The columns 17 and 20, as clearly illustrated by the sectioned column 20, have received therein flexible guide lines 21 and 22, respectively. which extend upwardly through the body of water 10 to an operating station 23 floating on the surface of the body of water 10. As exemplified by the slot 24 illustrated in the sectioned guide column 20, the opposed inwardly facing surfaces of each of the sets of guide columns 17 and 20, respectively, include longitudinal slots extending from the upper edge thereof down to close proximity to the fixed connection of the columns with the platform 15.

The operating station 23 illustrated in FIGURE 1 is typical of those used in offshore drilling operations. The station includes a derrick 25 extending upwardly therefrom and a traveling block 26 carried by the derrick to raise and lower elements to and from the station. Disposed directly below the derrick 25 in alignment with the block 26 is an opening 27 which extends through the station and is in communication with the body of water in which the station floats. It is through this opening that the guide lines 21 and 22 extend into secure-d relationship with the station 23. Typically, the lines 21 and 22 are secured to the station through winches carried thereby. In order to maintain the station 23 at a location approximately directly above the production installation, anchor lines 30 extend diver-gently down from the station to heavy anchors (not shown) ositioned on the floor 11 at locations around the installation.

Referring now to FIGURE '2, therein is illustrated the carriage to which the present invention is primarily directed, as designated in its entirety by the numeral 31. The carriage 31 is shown slidably'received on the guide lines 22, previously described in detail with reference to FIGURE 1. The main body of the carriage 31 comprises a frame 32 fabricated of pipe and plate sections through conventional means, such as welding and/or bolting. Guide line followers 33 are bolted to the opposed sides of the frame to provide for guided sliding movement of the carriage with respect to guide lines 22. The carriage includes a cable termination 34 fixed to the frame 32 and having secured thereto a hoisting and multi-conductor transmission cable 35. In operation. the cable 35 extends to a source of tension, such as a winch (not shown). on the operating station 23. Through this arrangement, the cable may be utilized to raise and lower the carriage 31 on the guide lines 22 and to conduct power and transmit signals to and from the carriage, as will be developed subsequently.

The primary purpose ofthe carriage 31 is to provide a platform on which to mount equipment to permit accurate viewing of the underwater installation illustrated in FIGURE 1. This purpose is accomplished through means of a television camera 36 secured to the lower end of the frame 32 for controlled movement with respect thereto. The securing arrangement between the frame 32 and camera 36 includes a spacer 37 bolted to the lower surface of the frame and having secured thereto a pan and tilt mechanism 40. The mechanism 40 is interposed between the frame 32 and camera 36 to permit the camera to selectively pivot about both horizon-tal and vertical axes with respect to the frame. An illustrative description of the structure and operation of the mechanism 40 will be developed subsequently with respect to FIGURE 3. The connection between the frame 32 and camera 36 further includes a lateral extension boom 41 interposed between the pan and tilt mechanism 40 and the housing of the camera. The boom 41, as will be developed subsequently with respect to FIG- URE 4, includes a cylinder 42 fixed to the mechanism 40 through means of an anchoring block 43, and a rod 44 extensible with respect to the cylinder 42 and fixed to the camera 36 by a mounting bracket 45. The details of the securing arrangement between the mechanism 40, boom 41 and camera 36 will become more apparent from the subsequent description of FIGURES 3 and 4.

The carriage 31 also supports a junction box 46 fixed to the frame 32 immediately below and in communication with the cable termination 34. The junction box 46 is provided with terminals, of a conventional nature, through which electrical power may be conveyed to the actuating components of the carriage and signals may be transmitted from the camera 36 to the transmission lines passing through the cable 35. At this point, it is noted that the television camera 36 and the pan and tilt mechanism 40 are electrically operated and thus may be supplied with power from the cable 35 directly through junction box 46. The lateral extension boom 41 is, however, hydraulically actuated and thus electrical energy conveyed through the cable 35 and junction box 46 must be converted into hydraulic energy for operation of the boom. In order to execute the latter function, an electrically actuated pump is carried by a hydraulic equipment housing 47 fixed to the frame 32. The internal details of the housing 47 and the pump therein will be developed subsequently with respect to FIGURE 5. Electric power is conveyed to the housing 47 through a conduclor line 50 extending into the junction box 46 and hydraulic fluid under pressure is conveyed from the housing 47 to opposed ends of the boom 41 by flexible conduits 51 and 52. Electric power is communicated from the junction box 46 to the pan and tilt mechanism 40 and the camera 36 by lines 53 and 54, respectively. It is understood that the electrical conductor lines leading into the junction box 46 communicate with the conductors which extend through the cable 35 through connections within the box.

In order to illuminate the area of focus of the camera 36, lamps 55 and 56 are pivotally secured to the frame 32 and a lamp 57 is pivotally secured to the rod 44 of the boom 41 through means of the camera mounting bracket 45. Preferably, these lamps are adjusted to the desired angular positions prior to the time the carriage is lowered into a body of water. The lamps 55, 56 and 57 may be of any commercially available underwater type,-

such as the Mercury vapor or incandescant type, and are supplied with electrical power through means of lines 60, 61 and 62, respectively, extending into the junction box 46. FIGURE 3 illustrates the interior deails of the pan and tilt mechanism mounted on the lower side of the carriage 31. This mechanism includes a flanged, internally toothed ring gear 63 bolted to the spacer 37 and having received therein for pivotal movement around the central vertical axis a stepped bearing member 64. The bearing member 64 forms the upper end of a housing member comprising an intermediate tubular section 65 sealingly engaging the lower end of the bearing member and a cap member 66 received within the lower end of tubular section 65. Through-bolts 67 extend slidably through the cap member 66 and threadably into the hearing member 64 in order tosecure the tubular section 65 between the bearing and cap members to form a closed housing. In order to convey electrical current from the conductor line 53 into the housing, an electrical connector 70 is secured to the external periphery of the ring gear 63 and is connected to a contact or slip ring 71 extending around the inner periphery of the gear beneath the teeth therein. A rider or brush 72 is mounted within the bearing member 64 for sliding engagement with the contact or slip ring and thus provides for the conveyance of electrical current into the pan and tilt mechanism without fouling of electrical leads due to relative movement between the elements of the mechanism as will be developed subsequently. it is to he understood that the electrical conductor line 53, ring 71 and rider 72 include multiple wires and contacting elements, as are well known in the art, in order to provide for the completion of more than one. e.g., four electrical circuits.

Controlled rotational movement of the bearing member 64, and the components fixedly secured thereto, about a vertical axis with respect to the ring gear 63, is imparted through means of a gear 73 carried by the tubular section 65 and engaging the internal teeth of the ring gear 63. The gear 73 is driven by a reversible electric motor 74 through a reduction gear assembly designated as 75. The motor 74 and reduction gear assembly 75 are secured to the inner wall of the tubular section 65 by brackets 76 and 77, respectively anchored to the tubular section and member 64 in a conventional manner, such as by bolts or screws. Electrical power is conveyed to the motor 74 through wires 80 and 81 communicating with the line 53 through the rider 72 and contact or slip ring 71. Rotation of the bearing member 64 and components secured thereto with respect to the ring gear 63 is limited, c.g., to about 360", by a first stop member 82 fixed to the gear 63 and extending downwardly therefrom and a second stop 83 fixed to the bearing member 64 and extending radially inwardly therefrom into the path of the first stop ntember. Through controlled :ctivation of the motor 74, as will be developed subsequcntly, the television camera 36 secured to the mechanism 40 may be selectively panned about a vertical axis.

In addition to the above-described panning structure, the mechanism 40 is provided with a mechanism to tilt the camera 36 secured thereto about a horizontal axis. This structure includes a shaft 84 extending transversely through the walls of the tubular section 65 for rotational movement with respect thereto. The ends of the shaft 84 extending through the walls of the section 65 are sealed in tluidtight communication therewith. as by 0- rings, and have secured thereto mounting plates 85 and 86. Through means of the plates 85 and 86 cameras and/or other devices may he pivotally attached to the mechanism 40. For example, in FIGURE 2 the anchoring block 43 is shown secured to the plate 86 as by bolts or the like. In order to selectively impart rotation to the shaft 84, a bevel gear 87 is fixed to the intermediate portion thereof. The bevel gear 87 is driven by a second reversible electric motor 90 through means of a reduction gear assembly 91 and a bevel gear 92. The motor 90 is secured to the side wall of the section 65 by a bracket 93 and is electrically connected to the rider 72 through wires 94 and 95. Through the wires 94 and 95 and the conductor line 53 connected thereto, the motor 90 may be selectively driven in opposite directions to rotate the shaft 84 and the camera 36 secured thereto through the plate 86. Rotation of the shaft 84 is limited, e.g., to 360 or less, by a first stop 96 fixed to the shaft and a second stop 97 fixed to the inner wall of the section 65 in the path of the first stop.

It is noted that the present invention is not intended to be limited to the details of the above-described pan and tilt mechanism. For example, the Oceanographic Engineering Corporation of La Jolla, California has available a Model II pan and tilt mechanism that may be used to perform the functions of the described mechanism.

FIGURE 4 illustrates the lateral extension boom 41 in vertical section, with the mounting bracket 45 secured to the extensible rod 44. The boom 41 includes three successively extensible telescoping sections comprising the rod 44, an internal cylinder section 100100a received around the rod, and an external cylindrical section 101- 101a received around the internal section. The boom 41 is housed in a cylindrical casing 102 having one end closed by a cap 103 and the other end open to permit the extensible elements of the boom to telescope into and out of the housing. The open end of the housing 102 has an annular stop ring 104 fixed thereto to limit the degree to which the external section 101 may be extended. The section 101-101a is provided with a piston 105 at its upper end, which piston is dimensioned so as to abut against the stop ring 104 when the section 101 is extended with respect to the casing 102. The inner ends of the section 10040011 and of the rod 44 are also provided with pistons 106 and 107, respectively, which pistons abut against annular stop rings and 111 at the outer ends of the sections 101 and 100, respectively, when the rod 44 and section 100 are in their fully extended positions. The cylindrical sections 1000 and 101a are spaced radially outwardly from the sections 100 and 101, respectively, to define annular passages which are sealed at their ends toward the open end of the casing 102 by suitable packing, as shown; however, at the other ends these annular passages have outward communication through ports 108 and 109. It will be noted that the pistons 105 and 106 have threaded connections to the upper ends of the sections 10K and 100, respectively, and the stop rings 110 and 111 have threaded connections to the lower ends of these sections, respectively. The section 101a is clamped at its ends between piston 105 and ring 110, while section 10011 is similarly clamped between piston 106 and ring 111. Suitable resilient gaskets are provided, as shown, to retain fluid and assure that foreign matter is excluded to prevent entry thereof and fouling of the mechanism. By this arrangement, it is apparent that the boom 41 may be extended to approximately three times its retracted length, and that the degree of extension is limited so as to maintain the boom in assembled condition.

The boom 41 is extended by applying pressure to the closed end thereof through a port 112 extending through the cap 103 into communication with the area above the piston 107. In operation, fluid pressure is applied to the port 112 through the flexible conduit 52 illustrated in FIGURE 2. Extension of the boom proceeds substantially in a manner conventional in the hydraulic arts, with the rod 44 and sections 100 and 101 successively extending to the limits imposed by the stop rings. The locations of the ports 108 and 109 at the inner ends of the respective sections prevents loss of fluid to the outside. After the boom 41 has been extended, retraction may be accomplished by applying fluid pressure to a port 113 extending through the peripheral wall of the stop ring 104 secured to the casing 102. As shown in FIGURE 2, fluid pressure is communicated to the port 113 from the hydraulic equipment housing 47 through the flexible coninvention.

duit 51. The fluid entering the port functions to retract the extended boom, the several sections moving in succession to return the mechanism to the position shown in FIGURE 4.

Referring now to FIGURE 5, there is shown the hydraulic equipment housing 47 constituting the pumping arrangement for supplying actuating fluid under pressure to the boom 41. The housing 47 includes a lower section 114 which functions as a reservoir for hydraulic fluid and an upper section 115 which is secured. in sealed relation to the lower section as shown and containing fixed therein a positive displacement pump 116, such as a gear pump. The pump 116 is driven by a reversible electric motor 117 which is mounted above the pump, the drive being through gears 118. Electric power is supplied to the motor 117 through the electrical conduit line 50, which is connected to an internal conductor contained in a conduit 120, the latter being mounted within the housing 47. The gear pump, which may be of conventional design, has a section conduit 121 which extends to the bottom of the reservoir section 114 for continual supply of fluid; it further has a discharge conduit 122 which is connected to the conduit 51 and a discharge conduit 123 which is connected to the conduit 52. Fluid under pressure is discharged from the pump into conduit 122 or 123 depending upon the direction in which the pump is operated, to extend and retract the boom 41, respectively. It will be understood that the conduit 121 is connected to both sides of the pump through check valves (not shown) whereby both sides may be supplied with reservoir fiuid but fluid under pressure is not discharged through the conduit 121 into the reservoir.

It is noted that the internal details of the hydraulic equipment housing could be varied without departing from the invention. For exam le, the gear pump could be driven by a uni-directional motor and the flow of fluid to the boom could be controlled through means of an electrically operated solenoid valve.

FIGURE 6 illustrates a control panel exemplary of the type that may be used with the system of the present In use with the illustrated system, this control panel would be located on the operating station 23 and would communicate with the carriage 31 through the cable 35. The connections between the cable 35, control panel, junction box 46 and the electrically driven components carried by the carriage 31 are of a conventional nature well within the province of those skilled in the electrical arts. The control panel of FIGURE 6 is designated in its entirety by the numeral 124 and includes in the lower portion thereof a television receiver 125 through which images viewed by the camera 36 may be observed. The panel 124 also includes a plurality of actuating switches and rheostats to selectively control the operation ofthe hoisting mechanism for the carriage 31 and the operation of the various components carried by the carriage. Specifically, in carrying out the latter function, the switches and rheostats may be used to activate the motion imparting mechanisms secured to the carriage and to activate and vary the intensity of the lamps mounted on the carriage 31.

The switches controlling the lateral extension boom 41 through means of the pump 116 and the pan and tilt mechanism 40 through means of the motors located therein are coupled to indicating dials on the control panel, which dials indicate the proper operation of the boom 41 and of the pan and tilt mechanism 40. Although the mechanism by which the indicating dials operate may vary to any of the expedients well known to those skilled in the electrical arts, typically these dials may take the form of ammeters or volt meters coupled to the operating means of the extension boom 41 and the pan and tilt mechanism 40. in the case of ammetcrs, current load increase would be indicated when the motors of the pan and tilt mechanism are stopped due to the stops of the mechanism or external obstructions. Likewise, flucvmerely intended to be explanatory thereof.

changes in the details of the described system and its tuating current readings on the hydraulic equipment housing motor ammetcr would indicate the boom was fully extended or retracted and that the relief valve in the pump is being activated.

The operation of the inspection system of the invention will now be described with reference to its application to the underwater installation illustrated in FIG- DRE 1. At the commencement of this application, it is assumed that the operating station 23 is positioned above the underwater installation, and that the guide lines 22 are in the operative position illustrated. initially, the carriage 31 is threaded onto the guide lines 22 through means of the followers 33 and the carriage is held in a suspended position within the opening 27 by the hoisting and transmission cable 35. Preferably, the cable 35 is reeled onto a power driven winch controlled through the panel 124, which winch is also provided with connecting elements whereby the transmission and power lines passing through the cable may be connected to power sources and the control panel 124. With the carriage 31 suspended in the opening 27, the winch may be activated through the control panel 124 to lower the carriage down the lines 22. As lowering commences, the camera 36 may be activated at any desired time through the panel 124 in order that objects near the underwater location of the carriage may be observed. Naturally, activation of the camera 36 will be accompanied by illumination of the lamps carried by the carriage and any desired motion imparted through the pan and tilt mcchanism 40 and the boom 41. As with activation of the television camera 36, the latter operations are controlled through the panel 124 and may be observed both by the indicating dials on the panel and possibly by the image observed through the television receiver 125 carried by the panel.

When the carriage 31 is lowered against the guide columns 20, the funnel shaped upper ends of the guide columns function to direct the guide line followers 33 into the opposed slots 24 extending longitudinally down the sides of the columns. With the followers 33 received within the columns 20, the carriage 31 is relatively fixed with respect to the underwater installation, and accurate positioning of the camera is thereby facilitated. It is to be understood that the columns 20 are spaced from the wellhead assembly 16 by a distance sufficient to permit free movement of the camera 36 to any desired location with respect to the components mounted on the underwater installation.

To conclude, from the foregoing description of the structure and application of the system of the present invention, it is believed apparent that it provides a means whereby underwater installations may be observed regardless of their depth. The information obtained from this observation is vitally useful in the inspection of such installations and the carrying out of operations thereon,

such as adjustments and repairs. Specifically, with the carriage 31 positioned between the guide columns 20, the guide columns 17 and the guide lines 21 cooperating therewith may be used to lower remotely operable wellhead equipment to the underwater installation. The operation of this equipment may be readily observed through means of the camera carried by the carriage.

The specific description of the invention is, however, Various application may be made, within the scope of the appended claims, without departing from the spirit of the invention. Specifically, it is not intended that the invention be limited to its application in the observation of wellhead assemblies, nor to the specific intcrnal details of the motion imparting structure used to control the positioning of the television camera. For example, it is anticipated that the system may find use in observing other undcrwatcr installations. such as producing stations and trap farms. it is also anticipated that the details of the clectric and hydro-electric motion imparting components may be variedwithout departing from the invention.

We claim as our invention:

1. An inspection system for observing an installation submerged in a relatively deep body of water, comprising:

(a) an operating station located at the surface of the body of water at a position substantially above the submerged installation.

(b) at least one guide line extending between'the operating station and the submerged installation;

(c) a carriage slida-bly engaging said guide line and having an actuating line secured thereto and extending to a raising and lowering mechanism on the station;

(d) a television camera mounted on the carriage for pivotal movement with respect thereto about horizontal and vertical axes;

(e) motion-imparting means fixedly mounted on the carriage and engaging said camera to move said camera selectively about said horizontal and vertical axes;

(f) power actuated extension means operatively engaging the carriage and camera to selectively extend said camera with respect to the carriage;

(g) lighting means carried by the carriage to illuminate the area of focus of said camera;

(It) transmission means extending between the operating station and carriage to conduct television signals from said camera to the operating station and power from the operating station to said motion imparting, extension and lighting means; and,

(i) control means carried by the operating station and cooperating with said transmission means to selectively control the signals and the power conducted through said transmission means.

2. An apparatus for use in observing installations submerged in relatively deep bodies of water, comprising:

(a) a carriage adapted to be suspended in the body of water in close proximity to an installation to be observed;

(b) a television camera mounted on the carriage for pivotal movement with respect thereto about horizontal and vertical axes;

(c) motion-imparting means operatively engaging the carriage and camera to move said camera selectively about said horizontal and vertical axes;

(d) an extensible boom operati-vely engaging the carriage and camera to provide for extension of said camera with respect to the carriage and toward the portion of the installation to be viewed;

(e) actuating means fixedly mounted on said carriage for selectively extending said extendable boom; and

(f) lighting means carried by the carriage to illuminate the area of focus of said camera.

3. An apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said means for selectively extending said boom is hydraulically actuated; and, a controlled source of hydraulic working fluid carried by said carriage andcommunicating with said hydraulic actuating means to selectively supply hydraulic fluid thereto.

4. An inspection system for observing an installation submerged in a relatively deep body of water, comprising:

(a) an operating station located at the surface of the body of water at a position substantially above the submerged installation;

(b) at least one guide element extending between the operating station and the submerged installation;

(0) a carriage slidably engaging said guide element and having means secured thereto for selectively con trolling its depth within the body of water;

(d) a camera mounted on the carriage for pivotal movement with respect thereto;

(0) motion-imparting means connected to said carriage and camera to pivot said camera selectively with respect to the carriage;

(f) extension means operatively engaging the carriage and camera to provide for substantially lateral extension of said camera with respect to said carriage;

(g) transmission means cooperating between the operating station and carriage to transmit image signals from said camera to the operating station and operating signals from the operating station to said motion imparting means and to said extension means; and,

(h) control means carried by the operating station to control selectively the transmission of image signals and operating signals via said transmission means.

5. An inspection station for observing an installation submerged in a relatively deep body of water comprising:

(a) an operating station located at the surface of the body of water at a position substantially above the submerged installation;

(b) at least one guide element extending between the operating station and the submerged installation; (0) a carriage slidably engaging said guide element and having an actuating line secured thereto and extending to a raising and lowering mechanism on said operating station;

(d) an 'extendable boom mounted on said carriage for pivotal movement with respect thereto about horizontal and vertical axes;

(e) a television camera mounted on said extendable boom;

(1) mot-ion imparting means operatively engaging said carriage and said extendable boom for moving said camera selectively about said horizontal and vertical axes and for selectively extending said boom in a substantially lateral direction with respect to said carriage;

(g) transmission means extending between said operating station and said carriage for conducting television signals from said camera to said operating station and power from said operating station to said motion imparting means and to said television camera; and,

(11) control means carried by the operating station and cooperating with said transmission means for selectively controlling the signals and the power conducted through said transmission means.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,981,347 4/61 Bauer et al. l7 3,014,984 12/61 Jacobson 1786 3,032,105 5/62 Rcistle 16666.5 3,066,969 12/62 Camac l78-6 DAVID G. REDINBAUGH, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2981347 *Nov 16, 1956Apr 25, 1961Continental Oil CoUnderwater inspection apparatus
US3014984 *Nov 10, 1958Dec 26, 1961Jacobson Irenus CUnderwater television device
US3032105 *Oct 19, 1959May 1, 1962Jersey Prod Res CoLocating submarine wells and lowering well tools into said wells
US3066969 *Jan 6, 1958Dec 4, 1962Thompson Nuclear Energy Co LtdCombined grapple and television guide
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4175269 *May 15, 1974Nov 20, 1979Dimetri RebikoffUnderwater TV surveillance of pipelines
Classifications
U.S. Classification348/81, 348/E05.26, 175/7, 175/8
International ClassificationH04N5/225
Cooperative ClassificationH04N5/2252
European ClassificationH04N5/225C2