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Variable Ballast System (VBS)

SOSI, Variable Ballast System

Model VBS-5000-120

The SOSI Model VBS-5000-120 Variable Ballast System is rated to operate in 5000 meters of seawater and has a variable ballast capacity of 120 liters. The VBS is used to adjust the buoyancy of a ROVs and hybrid vehicles that must be neutrally buoyant for some operations and then become heavy for operations on the seafloor (e.g. cable and pipeline burial, repair, etc.). Variable ballast permits picking objects up from the seafloor and maneuvering them without thrusting downward. It also allows the in water systems to be heavy when diving in high current situations.

The VBS system consists of two large Ti-6Al-4V titanium ballast tanks equipped with internal level and pressure sensors that provide operator feedback through the ROV’s telemetry system. The housings are connected to a high pressure water pump by heavily walled stainless steel tubing.Variable payload is obtained by flooding or deballasting hard (i.e., pressure resistant) buoyancy chambers. Flooding a hard buoyancy chamber when a weight is released from a submerged vehicle is a simple, effective technique. Deballasting the hard chamber may be accomplished by forcing the water out with air when valves are opened or by pumping.

The VBS system includes an electrically operated water inlet, a water exhaust and a pressure vessel fill/drain solenoid valve system. The VBS also comes standard with various check valves placed to ensure proper system operation. Quarter turn stainless steel ball valves are used to fill and drain the housings, isolate components and allow different operational configurations. To enhance the systems life cycle, an input water filter is included to minimize particulate intrusion in the VBS system. This high pressure water pump is hydraulically operated and controlled by the ROV’s servo valve pack which in turn is supplied hydraulic power from the host ROV.


Additional Product Images

VBS as used in the ISE Hyper Dolphin VBS as used in the ISE Hyper Dolphin VBS as used in the ISE Hyper Dolphin SOSI Variable Ballast System

Features & Options

Submersible HPU
Stand Alone Control Servo Valve Pack
Aluminum Ballast Tanks, Lower Depth Rating
Custom Tool Sled
Mounting Bracketry


Technical Specifications
2-60 L Ti-6Al-4V titanium ballast housings Integral ballast level sensors
  • Depth rating: 5,000 msw/16,400 fsw   •38 discrete outputs, 24 VDC
  • Capacity: 120 L/31.7gal. High pressure water pump hydraulic requirements max.:
High pressure water pump output:   • 85 L/min. – 22.5 gpm
  • 30 L/min. – 8 gpm max   • 190 bar/ 2,755 psi
  • 520 bar/7,550 psi Electrical 24 VDC @ 4 amps
Ballast tanks: • Outside diam.: 30.5 cm/12 in. High pressure water pump weight:
  • Overall length: 101.6 cm/40 in.   22 kg/48.5 lb.
  • Weight: 115 kg/252 lb. each Inlet water filter 25 µ
Heavy wall stainless piping & fittings


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