KW Designed Solutions has designed, developed and engineered pressure vessel systems specifically for conducting Instrumented Buoyancy Loss (IBL) testing of subsea syntactic foam buoyancy products in line with API 17L (ISO 13628-11).

The IBL pressure testing system consists of a pressure vessel (incorporating a test fixture to support the sample under test), a pressure-balanced load cell, pressure transducer and a pressure control system complete with HMI control panel; complete with an integrated PC based operator interface for logging data.

During a typical IBL test, the sample is subjected to hyperbaric pressure equivalent to the rated depth of the buoyancy module for over 96 hours. The amount of buoyancy (or uplift) is monitored throughout the duration of the test and the amount of buoyancy loss is plotted and extrapolated to End Of Life (EOL).

The test fixture that supports the sample is attached to the underside of the vessel cover. This lowers the sample into the vessel and the test fixture supports the dry weight of the sample and ballast plates, without overloading the precision load cell. Once loaded and the vessel is filled with water, the locking mechanism is released, so that the load cell is under tension for the duration of the test.

Data acquisition via a PLC driven HMI operator interface, allows the operator to write test programs, monitor and log (pressure and force vs time), as well as log the temperature of the test media.

The user interface is designed to each customer’s requirements; ensuring that the required outputs are achieved via one system.

pressure vessel system for Instrumented Buoyancy Loss (IBL) testing of subsea syntactic foam buoyancy products in line with API 17L (ISO 13628-11).


  • Dry Weight Load Cell Protection Mechanism
  • Fully Integrated Operator Interface with Pressure, Temperature and Force Data Acquisition
  • Pressure Balance Load Cell with Low Range, Full Scale Resolution
  • Protective Framework with Load Rated Lifting Eyes
  • Removable Ballast System for Neutral or Negative Buoyancy
  • Suitable for All Sizes of Buoyancy Modules up to Ø1.6m X 3m


  • IBL Testing System can be Supplied Independently or as part of a Complete Turnkey Package with a High Pressure Vessel
  • Low Range, Full Scale Resolution, Pressure Balanced Load Cell for Increased Accuracy, Replaces the Previous LVDT Method of Measurement
  • Specifically Designed Data Acquisition to Structure and Simplify the Test Operation

Applications and Customer Uses

Specifically for use in pressure vessels for customers manufacturing and testing subsea syntactic foam buoyancy products in line with API 17L such as: Distributed Buoyancy Modules (DBM’s), Drilling Riser Buoyancy, ROV and AUV Buoyancy.

Project Example

High Pressure Testing Systems for a Subsea Test Centre - IBL Testing

As part of a series of 12 high pressure systems we designed and manufactured, specifically designed for IBL testing for a global buoyancy solutions manufacturer’s subsea test centre.

These particular systems provide high pressure testing at pressures of 700 bar for long and short term testing applications. These high pressure systems allows the test centre to trial and qualify their buoyancy products to extreme depths, accurately controlled with data acquisition.

IBL Testing System