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Multibeam echo sounders

Kongsberg Discovery is a leading manufacturer of multibeam echo sounder systems for seabed mapping. Our product range includes models for all water depths and virtually any application. The benefits of multibeam echo sounders are that they map the seafloor with a fan of narrow acoustic beams, thus providing 100% coverage of the seafloor. The resulting seabed maps are more detailed than those obtained using single-beam technology. Producing maps using our multibeam echo sounders will improve survey efficiency by producing seabed maps more quickly, thus reducing ship survey time and cost.

Seafloor Information System (SIS)

The Seafloor Information Systems (SIS) 5 acquisition software has been redesigned to improve both user experience and work processes. The modern Windows environment, menus and layout are more intuitive, helping you to work more efficiently. The new 3D displays handle all depths, even when displaying shallow water multibeam at maximum ping rate. The background maps are generated from GeoTIFF or S 57 charts using Web Map Services (WMS).

A single Seafloor Information System (SIS) installation can support multiple survey vessels simultaneously. Both the SIS acquisition software and the corresponding multibeam system can be controlled from a remote location using the SIS Remote application.

Multibeam echo sounders models overview

Comparison table of our multibeam echo sounders:

Model Frequency Min/max depths *) Max swath width   Tx Angle Rx Angle Standard Options Available configuration
M3 Sonar  500 kHz 0.2 - 50 m 120 degrees 3 1.6 3x1.6
  • 500m and 4000m depth ratings
  • Ethernet
  • Ethernet with sync
  • Ethernet with VDSL and auxiliary port
EM 2040C MKII (Compact) 200 - 400 kHz 0.5 - 520 m Single head:
5.5xD / 580m /
140 degrees
Dual head:
10xD / 700m /
200 degrees
1 1 1x1
  • Dual head
  • Dual swath
EM 2040P MKII (Portable) 200 - 700 kHz 0.5 - 550 m  7.5xD / 830m / 170 degrees 1 1 1x1
  • Dual swath 600 kHz and 700 kHz modes (0.6 degree beamwidth)
  • EM MultiFrequency Mode
  • Extra detections
EM2040 PHS (Portable Hydrographic System) 200 - 700 kHz 0.5 - 550 m 7.5xD / 830m / 170 degrees 1 1 1x1
  • EM2040 PHS includes an integrated AML SVT sensor, and the Seapath 130 MRU on a Universal Sonar Mount pole to be fitted onboard small boats and launches
  • Same additional features as for the EM2040P model
EM 2040 MKII 200 - 700 kHz 0.5 - 600 m Single RX:
8xD / 920m /
170 degrees
Dual RX:
10xD / 980m /
220 degrees
0.4, 0.7 0.7 0.4x0.7, 0.7x0.7
  • Dual RX Dual swath* 600 kHz and 700 kHz modes
  • EM MultiFrequency Mode
  • Extra detections
  • Integrated AML SVT sensor
EM 712 40 - 100 kHz 3 - 3600 m 5.5xD / 4200 m /
140 degrees
0.25, 0.5, 1, 2 0.5, 1, 2 0.25x0.5, 0.5x0.5, 0.5x1, 1x1, 1x2, 2x2
  • Customer specific configurations available
  • CW and FM transmit pulses
EM 712 USV 40 - 100 kHz 3 - 3000 m 5.5xD / 4200 m /
140 degrees
1 1 1x1
  • CW and FM transmit pulses
EM 712 S 40 - 100 kHz 3 - 1800 m 5.5xD / 2800 m /
140 degrees
0.5, 1, 2 0.5, 1, 2 0.5x0.5, 0.5x1, 1x1, 1x2, 2x2
  • Customer specific configurations available
  • 0.5x0,5, 0,5x1, 1x1, 1x2, 2x2
  • CW transmit pulses
EM 712 RD 40 - 100 kHz 3 - 600 m 5.5xD / 1300 m /
140 degrees
1, 2 2 1x2, 2x2
  • No Export License, Short CW transmit pulses
EM 304 MKII 20 - 32 kHz 10 - 11000m 5.5D / 15000m / 140 degrees 0.3, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 0.5, 1, 2, 4 0.3x0.5, 0.5x0.5, 0.5x1,1x1,1x2,2x2, 2x4, 4x4
  • Customer specific configurations available
EM 124 12 kHz 20 - 11000 m 6xD / 35000 m /
143 degrees
0.5, 1, 2 1, 2, 4 0.5x1, 1x1, 1x2, 2x2 and 2x4
  • Customer specific configurations available

Integrating more than one multibeam echo sounder

Depending upon the application, it can make sense to combine 2 or 3 multibeam echo sounders with different frequencies onto one platform. A higher-frequency instrument will have better resolution and accuracy than a lower-frequency instrument for a certain water depth, whereas a lower-frequency system will provide coverage in a deeper depth range. The different frequency models listed above are compatible and can be combined freely. If only one instrument is used at a time, a single operator unit is sufficient. However, when more than one frequency is activated for simultaneous operation, one operator unit is required for each instrument.

Our multibeam echo sounders are prepared for integration with other acoustic instruments and can be used as subsystems in integrated survey instrumentation solutions involving centralized synchronization of the transmission sequence.

High accuracy

Our multibeam echo sounders are professional tools for precision mapping of the seabed, complying with the performance standards defined by the International Hydrographic Organization’s performance standards, S-44 edition 6. Our instruments are all characterized by high mapping productivity in combination with exceptionally high sounding accuracy, with a dense pattern of soundings to cover the seafloor in order to reveal all details on the bottom. In addition to the soundings, the multibeam echo sounders produce seabed image data similar to a side scan sonar image. This dataset is useful for characterizing the seabed material properties and sometimes for detecting small features not easily visible in the sounding data. Water column backscatter between the echo sounder and seafloor completes the full picture.

Complete mapping system

To form a complete mapping system, our multibeam echo sounders are connected to positioning, heading and motion sensing instruments, as well as sound velocity sensors to position the soundings correctly. Sound velocity profiles can be uploaded during acquisition for continuously updated ray tracing for the most accurate surveys.

Portable solutions

Portable solutions can be offered for inshore surveying. Permanent or semi-permanent mounting of the acoustic transducers is recommended for offshore work with surface vessels. Solutions for ROV- and AUV-based multibeam echo sounder surveying are available. We have considerable experience and can assist you with practical advice and system integration planning.

Helge Uhlen
Vice President Underwater Mapping