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ACC students study submersible robotics

November 12, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Eight marine technology students from David Cummins' introduction to submersible robotics class at Alpena Community College visited SeaView Systems, a small but growing company based in Dexter that focuses on maritime electronics and remotely operated vehicle services and pipeline investigations. The class left Alpena on Friday and visited the in-house team's operations for a hands-on underwater technology experience.

"The time we spent at SeaView was amazing. We learned so much and got to play with an expensive $200,000 ROV, what more could you ask for," Cummins said.

Mike Dunham said the field trip was an incredible learning opportunity where ACC students explored ROV equipment, SeaViews work environment, the type of people who work in the underwater technology field and what kind of job opportunities are out there.

"The first thing we saw was the ROV. It was awe inspiring to work with the expensive equipment that we were ultimately responsible for," Dunham said. "The biggest thing I learned was that you have to have flexibility while working in this field. You really have to think on your feet to resolve problems quickly."

According to Patrick Wright, ACC students left Alpena around 8 a.m. and arrived at the SeaView warehouse at 1 p.m., and spent four hours learning about underwater tools, and tunnel and pipeline investigations up to 10,000 feet.

"The warehouse was nondescript, but tricked out inside. Five employees have been running it for a number of years. They talked about different projects around the world and building ROVs," Wright said. "I think the field trip was worth it, they answered a lot of questions and were very informative."

Wright said overall the visit to SeaView was a useful experience, especially for anyone who plans on working with ROVs. However, he said the class also is learning how the mathematics side of the process, design, troubleshooting and repairs, how to maintain, design and build ROVs.

"We touched and traced wires, along with all of the materials that are used for circuitry, everything was right in front of us. We also talked to the technicians who explore pipes and inspect them, it was really interesting," Mike Hawks said. "I'm attracted to traveling and this line of work is worldwide. Eventually, I'd like to get close to Europe or Australia."

Cummins said the class visit to SeaView Systems gave each student an opportunity to see a successful Michigan company and talk to people who are working in the industry.

"There are three companies in the Great Lakes region that travel around the world and do 80 percent of the worlds long distance pipeline inspections with ROVs," Cummins said. "Students were separated in two groups, one operated the ROV in the test tank and the others talked with the operations manager about the industry and reviewed some ROV footage.Within four hours they learned more practical experience."

Cummins said as a thank you for the donated time and experience, the class presented SeaView Systems employees a plaque with each students name on it.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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