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Cortland ROC Critical for Underwater Project

Ruggedized Optical Cable (ROC)

The Challenge
The mystery behind the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic and its intriguing tale has long been a topic of study and fascination. When L.A. based TV and film production company, Earthship Productions wanted to uncover some more of its secrets hidden on the ocean bed for a LIVE broadcast, Cortland’s experience as an accomplished provider of custom-made cables was called upon.

Earthship Productions needed robust fiber optic cable provided in a continuous length greater than 20,000-ft to enable eight live video feeds to be transmitted from the ocean bottom. As wireless signals transmit poorly underwater, wireless was not an option.

The Solution
Cortland was called in to provide a purpose built, fiber optic cable capable of surviving the dynamics of the application. Fiber optic technology was the ideal choice as a large bandwidth was required. That being said, the rigors of this application would not allow an ordinary fiber optic cable.

Cortland recommended its Ruggedized Optical Cable (ROC), a variant of its patented Protected Optical Cable. These unique cables can be used as stand-alone fiber optic links, or as components in a more complex cable design. ROC is robust, kink and crush-resistant, yet flexible and enduring of repeated bending stresses. It’s also rated for full-ocean depth and by the nature its inconel wire armor design offers anti-corrosion properties and fish-bite protection.

ROC is available in long continuous lengths, yet is small enough to facilitate easy handling. It is also easy to terminate both optically and mechanically.

As the ROC cable measured only 2.2mm in diameter and is rated for a small minimum bend radius, it was supplied on compact spools. Cortland supplied several spools of cable totaling more than 15 miles.

To explore the Titanic wreckage, the Keldysh – the largest research vessel in the world carrying two Mir submersibles and their remotely operated x-bots (ROVs) – was used. Alongside the Keldysh and the Mir subs were two Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB); the same kind used by the Navy SEALS. During the operation, the RHIBs assisted in the launch of the Mir subs (a two-hour journey), managing the ROC cable feeds to and from each sub. The broadcast signals were transmitted LIVE back to the control room on-board the Keldysh and beamed LIVE via satellite into viewer’s homes.

Speaking of the project, Chad Murdock, Sales and Applications Engineer for Cortland said, “The fiber optic link was a critical part of the project, without it the production team would not have been able to transmit live. Cortland’s ROC cable was needed for the LIVE broadcast to take place.”

“For this project the ROC cable withstood testing to 10,000 PSI*,” stated Ronnie Allum, Engineer with Earthship Productions. “We exceeded Cortland’s bend radius yet the ROC cable still performed well under pressure and extremely well under strain.”

John Cobb, Cortland Electro-Mech and Fiber Optic expert added “The ROC was originally developed for a classified military application to meet demanding environmental and mechanical properties. It has since found success in many commercial applications due to its unique combination of robustness, flexibility, and suitability for deep ocean use.”

* The Titanic lies at approximately 5,500 PSI (12,500-ft depth)

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