Into the deep
First founded in 1927, Italian company, Drass Tecnologie Sottomarine has come to be recognised as one of the leading figures present within the deep diving industry.
Since the rebirth of the saturation diving industry in 2004, the company has gone on to build more than half of all the world’s certified saturation diving systems. With a mission statement to be the industry’s frontrunner when it comes to the building of innovative, safe and cost-efficient systems, Drass has developed a brand new approach to tackling the diving system manufacturing process that it now applies to in-built, modular and surface diving systems.
In 2003, the new management team at Drass set out a series of clear aims and goals that would go on to help shape the success of the business over the coming decade. Along with a commitment to establishing more long-term relationships with its clients, the company set out to enforce modern methods across the board to properly consider maintainability, life support and failure mode analysis within its engineering criteria by importing knowledge from adjacent areas of the business. Equally important has been the modernisation of the deepdesign process through the introduction of state-of-the-art solutions, the extension of the range of equipment that is wholly designed and built in-house and the digitalising of its complete engineering archive, making it available for reference and consultation.
“Thanks to its vision of enforcing a serial production line, Drass products are thoroughly engineered in terms of logistic support, documentation and reliability analysis,” states managing director, Sergio Cappelletti. “A complete management system is built around the company’s series of products, enabling clients to benefit from its advanced level of after sales support. At the same time, the feedback received by the client is looped back via technical bulletins to the existing installations, creating a continuous improvement cycle.
“A special effort has been made over the years to promote the company and this has led to Drass being widely associated today with the concepts of tradition, robustness, simplicity and reliability, together with elegance, youth, dynamism, ambition and having the capability to achieve whatever it sets out to do. This intangible value is sometimes not fully perceived in the engineering industry, yet represents a sensible add-on in association with the primary drivers of the business.”
Looking through its extensive product portfolio, there are many examples of the company’s expertise shining through. Of these, several groundbreaking products command particular interest, including Drass’ 100 Series dive system, its 700 Series surface diving system and the 900 Series modular saturation system. A serial production, consisting of a pre-approved design and of pre-approved equipment, the 100 Series has been developed with the intention of reducing non-recurring costs, granting a consolidated integration with the vessel design and allowing the development of a complete life cycle service for the equipment itself. Having obtained all the necessary DNV certificates, the Drass 100 Series can today be found installed on several operational DSV’s.
The 700 Series surface diving system encompasses a complete range of equipment that provides clients with the widest air and gas mix diving solution. Its trolley and A-Frame recovery systems are designed to cover a minimum amount of deck space and the best transportability, with all the components available in both stand alone and containerised versions. Meanwhile, the 900 Series modular saturation system offers a standard 12-diver occupancy in one, six-man twin lock chamber and two, three-man chambers. The three-man chamber frames can be aligned on each side of the six-man chamber central frame or on the same side, granting the maximum optimisation of the space available on the deck, while the hyperbaric rescue system can be installed on both sides of the system.
“In the last three years the demand for improved technology to be applied to saturation diving systems has greatly increased,” Sergio continues. “The main challenge until now has been the implementation of a simple and reliable automatic control system for saturation diving. Indeed the need for improvement has not been limited to the introduction of a software control, but to meet the reliability and the simplicity level requested by the operational environment, and to be able to offer the system within an acceptable cost. Drass has been working to achieve these goals, at the same time maintaining compatibility with the existing systems, thus allowing the retrofitting of the operational Drass 100 Series saturation diving system. The company’s intent is now to optimise the performance of all the equipment concerned, for the benefit of the automation structure.”
As the main manufacturer of saturation diving systems that incorporate advanced technologies, Drass’ future appears to be one of infinite potential: “Drass has set specific key words for each sector of activity that it undertakes work in,” Sergio says. “For the management side of things its aim is consolidation, so transitioning itself from a transforming business to a consolidated enterprise. In regards to its commercial strategy, Drass’ goal is to achieve what it calls ‘competence exchange, extended support’, which means being able to understand the clients’ needs and to communicate Drass’ potential support to their business. Furthermore it aims to focus on modernisation, design to cost, design to reliability and industrialisation in all its engineering and production work.
“As a diving manufacturer, Drass is convinced it can consolidate the performance and the dimension of its structured enterprise, which is unprecedented in this specialised area of business. This will be down to not only the increased number of diving systems being built in today’s market, but more so because of the widened and improved network of services and support it can associate with the delivery of a diving system.”
Drass Tecnologie Sottomarine
Services: Deep diving equipment