Written By: Noël Daigle
6,000 thousand meters below the sea is known as the “Deep Ocean.” Temperatures drop to 36°F, light vanishes completely, and pressure builds to 8,600 PSI. This is where subsea products manufacturer, DeepWater Buoyancy, thrives; spending an average of two weeks to over 30 years within this extremely harsh environment.
DeepWater Buoyancy is the world’s largest producer of subsea buoyancy products and solutions, and the company’s product offerings are frequently considered “the gold standard” within the Oceanographic Community. They specialize in providing solutions for offshore oil and gas, energy, and technology companies to depths of 6000 meters.
The heart of their product offering is a line of subsurface ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) buoys. The buoys are designed to house these ADCPs and other sensors for high current data collection applications.
In addition to this, they produce bottom mounts, instrument collars, and cable floats. For offshore oil and gas, the company offers installation blocks, modular buoys, marker floats, and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) buoyancy.
With 40+ years’ experience with the company and Oceanographic community, David Capotosto, Director of Business Development of DeepWater Buoyancy, and Matthew Henry, Plant Manager, have helped build a company that is well poised to deliver solutions that are customizable to customers’ needs and that outperform their competitors.
Deep Oceanic Conditions: Corrosive Saltwater & Water Pressure
At 6,000 meters below the sea, deep ocean temperatures hover around 36°F, and the deeper the descent into the sea, the more cold, salty, corrosive water is present.
In addition to the unavoidable effects of saltwater erosion, everything under the ocean is under an enormous amount of pressure. At 6000m the pressure is 8762psi compared to 14.7psi at the surface, impacting a given object in every single direction.
Due to the effects of continuous saltwater corrosion and crushing water pressure, low surface energy polyolefin plastic is widely utilized for deep-sea applications because it is a chemically inert material, and is inherently resistant to all salts, making it an ideal candidate to withstand the salt-water corrosion of deep oceanic depths as well as the effects of massive water pressure.
DeepWater Buoyancy’s products are not only designed to withstand these extreme conditions over extended lengths of time, they also utilize identification labels that remain equally unscathed in the deep oceanic environment.
30+ Year Identification, Asset Tracking, and Brand Labeling Solution
DeepWater Buoyancy required long-term, saltwater resistant labeling for their buoyancy products because their customers often utilize these labels for identification and asset-tracking purposes. “Labels only matter two times to clients. Once when they drop the products into the ocean, and once more when they are retrieved,” David said. “The labels are used for identification and tracking, so they have to know what they’re looking at before deployment and after recovery of the buoyancy product.”
As shown above, saltwater and deep-sea pressures have little to no effect on the material of plastic itself, the effect they have on typical identification, tracking, or brand name labels on those plastics is a different story.
Typical labeling technologies cannot survive these harsh conditions and in fact, quickly disintegrate, which means they will fail to perform their essential function to identify or track deep-sea assets.
The solution is known as Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology. This labeling technology is different from all other typical labeling technologies because it does not utilize inks, substrates, or adhesives, (which are all materials inert plastic would reject and which the ocean’s saltwater would corrode easily).
It is a 100% polymer label that fuses molecularly into the subsurface of the plastic, and therefore takes on the same attributes of the plastic itself: Chemically Inert and 100% saltwater corrosion and environmentally resistant. The labels also expand and contract with the plastic component, and are unaffected by extreme temperatures and water pressure. Polymer Fusion Labeling Technology works cohesively with the plastic, not against it, therefore eliminating label failures and the effects of corrosion.
Mold In Graphics Fusion Labels are the only labels proven to withstand multiple harsh and extreme tests, and DeepWater Buoyancy products have certainly put them to the test as well, remaining perfectly intact and unaffected by the oceanic environment at 6,000 meters below the ocean, at 8,600 psi, in temperatures as cold as 36°F, for up to 30 years in length.
Fusion Labeling Technology for Maritime Shipping
One industry that could really benefit from Fusion Labeling Technology would be International Maritime Shipping of Dangerous Goods in drums which is bound by the labeling standard BS 5609.
BS 5609 stands for “British Standard 5609,” and is a testing requirement for printed pressure-sensitive, adhesive-coated labels needing certification for attachment to chemical drums in a marine environment.
The purpose is to ensure that if a chemical drum falls off a ship that the label remains adhered, intact and legible after an extended period in the ocean.
Certification testing includes artificial weathering, peel adhesion and color fastness tests along with labels needing to withstand three-months saltwater submersion in the English Channel.
The problem is, all testing is conducted on pressure-sensitive adhesive labels applied to high surface energy aluminum plates per the standard. The most used chemical drums being used for shipment are made from low surface energy polyethylene, a material whose characteristics most closely resemble Teflon.
What does that mean? Pressure-sensitive adhesive labels cannot reliably withstand harsh oceanic conditions on polyethylene drums because testing isn’t conducted on labels applied to polyethylene.
Furthermore, adhesive-based labeling technologies have a two-fold battle, they are fighting (and losing) to stay attached to a surface that they will never truly bond with, and they are also exposed to the effects of time as well as the violent and corrosive environment of the ocean.
They will quickly disintegrate and fail.
Once the fusion process is complete, Fusion Labels are fully flush with the plastic product or component, becoming one with the part, and are as equally immune and resistant to the harsh and corrosive environment of the ocean.
Fusion Labeling Technology, through proven testing by DeepWater Buoyancy, has shown to exceed BS 5609 standards. While the BS 5609 standard calls for 3 months of submersion testing in saltwater, Mold In Graphics Fusion Technology Labels remain perfectly intact, pristine, legible, and unaffected by the oceanic environment at 6,000 meters below the ocean, at 8,600 psi, in temperatures as cold as 36°F, for up to 30 years in time.
DeepWater Buoyancy is a true leader in their industry, setting standards for high-quality subsea buoyancy floats and providing unmatched solutions for their customers. Mold In Graphics has been proud to partner with DeepWater Buoyancy for over 30 years, providing unmatched solutions for identification, asset tracking, or brand labeling for low surface energy plastics. When you need a buoyancy product that sets standards within its industry, there is no better solution than DeepWater Buoyancy. When you need a polymer labeling technology that needs to fuse into your plastic product, providing the only solution that is proven to withstand deep oceanic conditions and remain 100% identifiable for the life of the part, Mold In Graphics Fusion Labeling Technology is the solution.
To find out more about how DeepWater Buoyancy is continually setting standards within the Oceanographic Industry, check out their website at deepwaterbuoyancy.com.