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Kongsberg GeoAcoustics Celebrates 200th Anniversary with 200th GeoSwath Plus Delivery

Nick Burchill, center, Subsea sales manger for Kongsberg Maritime in Canada, presents a plaque to Denis D’Amours, Director of the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s Pacific Region. David Jackson, engineering projects supervisor, looks on.

Nick Burchill, center, Subsea sales manger for Kongsberg Maritime in Canada, presents a plaque to Denis D’Amours, Director of the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s Pacific Region. David Jackson, engineering projects supervisor, looks on.

On March 20, Kongsberg company celebrated its 200th anniversary. Serving the dredging industry as a provider of acoustic sonar systems for shallow water surveying, Kongsberg’s has been a technical innovator in a variety of fields since its inception in 1814.

Today, the company’s maritime interests are grouped under the umbrella company Kongsberg Maritime, which noted the anniversary with the sale of its 200th GeoSwath Plus multibeam system – to the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS). Nick Burchill, subsea sales manger for Kongsberg Maritime in Canada presented a plaque to Denis D’Amours, director of the CHS Pacific Region, and engineering projects supervisor David Jackson, commemorating the sale and the anniversary.

The plaque reads: “Presented to the Canadian Hydrographic Service (Pacific Region) to mark the delivery of the 200th GeoSwath Plus system on Kongsberg’s 200th Anniversary. 20 March 2014”

It is embossed with Kongsberg’s 200th anniversary logo.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service uses its GeoSwath Plus systems for shallow water mapping when a high rate of coverage is required. According to Ken Halcro, hydrographer in charge, The GeoSwath Plus is part of the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s plan to reduce the unknown areas now portrayed as grey or white zones on Canadian hydrographic products.

The GeoSwath Plus is capable of covering an area of 12 times the depth of the water in areas that are not always accessible using other systems. The design of the GeoSwath Plus’s rugged transducers and the high quality data that it produces makes it the logical choice in the wave zone when occasional “physical soundings” may occur.

“This and the other GeoSwath systems operated by CHS are very efficient tools for covering inland and coastal shallow zones that may pose hazards to navigation,” Nick Burchill said.

Kongsberg’s history is a varied and interesting one. It began in 1814 as a weapons manufacturer and to create jobs for the unemployed in the newly-formed Norwegian State. In 1818, the company made its first delivery, consisting of 30 flintlock guns and 30 sabers. In 1888, Kongsberg built the prototype for the Krag-Jorgensen rifle, and by 1917 was producing 1,500 Krag-Jorgensens per year.

In 1907, the factory instituted an eight-hour working day and in 1932, began manufacturing anti-aircraft guns.

Germany invaded Norway in April 1940, and that year the management resigned in protest against a requirement to build guns for the occupying forces. In 1944, the Norwegian resistance blew up part of the factory.

Kongsberg began diverging from weapons manufacture in 1946, with the development of a ship to shore radio telephone for the fishing industry, under the name Simonsen Radio – later changed to Simrad, a name familiar to the latter day dredging industry as a provider of echo sounders.

In 1950, Simrad produced an echo sounder for the commercial fishing fleet, and in 1975, Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk, as the parent company was then named, founded Kongsberg Albatross to develop and deliver dynamic positioning systems, achieving its first sale the same year.

In 1987, Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk sold all civilian business activities, and Simrad acquired Kongsberg Albatross, re-naming it Simrad Albatross. In 1995, Kongsberg Maritime was established as a separate business area, and the parent company changed its name to Kongsberg Gruppen, or KONGSBERG.

1996 was a red-letter year, in which Kongsberg Simrad introduced the Simrad Dynamic Positioning (SDP), which enables a vessel to hold position automatically, taking into account wind, waves and tide. It has since been incorporated into the K-POS dynamic positioning system range. Also that year Simrad introduced the new IAS (integrated automation system) concept to the market.

Also in 1996, Kongsberg Gruppen (previously Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk) acquired Simrad ASA, and Simrad acquired Mesotech, a Canadian manufacturer of high quality underwater acoustic equipment, including high-resolution sonar, dual-axis sonar, multibeam sonar, diver detection sonar and altimeters.

Kongsberg Maritime was formed in 1997, consisting of Kongsberg Simrad, Kongsberg Norcontrol, Kongsberg Norcontrol Simulation and Simrad. In 2008, Kongsberg Maritime acquired the UK- based GeoAcoustics, a major manufacturer of sonar seabed survey equipment, including shallow water multibeam systems, sidescan sonar systems, sub-bottom profilers, deep-towed combined systems, acoustic tracking systems software applications and thermal printers.

In 2013, Kongsberg Maritime obtained the rights to commercialize Seaglider™ Technology. Seaglider™ is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) system that rather than using a propeller to move through the water, uses fixed wings and changes in buoyancy to achieve both vertical and forward motion.

In parallel with its survey technology development and marketing, Kongsberg has been active in the ocean oil and gas industry, the automotive industry, and the defense industry, creating companies and merging within the company to form ever more focused and efficient business models.

On its website, Kongsberg highlights its dedication to ethics in the group’s board of directors, workers and business partners. The statement goes on: “Our values are normative for how we behave and work… Shared values are essential for building a strong corporate culture and a good reputation. To support our vision: world class through people, technology and dedication. ”

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