OTC Spotlight award: FMC Technoloies’ ISOL-8 Pump

This story profiles one of the Offshore Technology Conference’s 13 Spotlight on New Technology Award winners.

FMC Technologies’ new ISOL-8 Pump is small enough and light enough to be installed permanently on a remote-operated vehicle, or ROV, while still handling the wide variety of fluid types common to the subsea intervention world.

“Most pumps are so heavy you have to fit an entire skid under the ROV to house them, and fit them with buoyancy so they don’t weigh the ROV down,” said Tyler Schilling, president of Schilling Robotics, a business unit of FMC Technologies.

“This one is the size of a briefcase and it weighs 200 pounds.”

ROVs and their pumps are commonly used to provide power to subsea equipment like Christmas trees and blowout preventers, or BOPs, by injecting fluid via a connection called a hot stab.

The ISOL-8 complies with the American Petroleum Institute’s Standard 53 for blowout prevention, released in November to update and strengthen BOP standards.

“API 53 requires about 120 fluid horsepower,” Schilling said. “Previously the best anyone’s been able to do is around 40. This machine does 150 fluid horsepower out.”

In addition to the range of fluids and compact size, the ISOL-8 is also completely software-controlled.

“We’re trying to shift as much of a machine’s functionality into software domain and out of hardware,” Schilling said.

“The goal is to develop technologies that are based on highly flexible building blocks. We can just stream new versions of software to our customers. It’s much easier to give them new software than hardware.”

Schilling and company started work on the ISOL-8 about two years ago and just recently shipped the first units to the Gulf of Mexico.