dynamic positioning sensors

Fanbeam has led the market for over 20 years due to its durability, high-performance in tough conditions, and ease of use for dynamic positioning operators (DPOs)

Full Fanbeam Systems

Techmak can also provide full Fanbeam 4.2 and Fanbeam 5 systems for long and short projects. Please contact us with your requirements.

How Fanbeam works

The Fanbeam 5 position reference system (PRS) uses accurate time-of-flight laser technology to determine vessel position relative to custom reflectors, which can be fixed to offshore rigs, installations or other vessels. Fanbeam data is communicated to the vessel’s dynamic positioning (DP) system, which controls the thrusters that are used to maintain vessel position during operations.

The design of the Fanbeam 5 laser unit, our custom reflectors and the Fanbeam Controller 4.0 control software make Fanbeam the laserbased PRS of choice. Our range of data outputs, and the ease with which Fanbeam can be combined with other sensors and DP systems, make it ideal for holding a vessel in station, or for moving a vessel with great precision.

2 Key PriNciples

Fanbeam 5 is engineered to support DPOs based on:


DPOs should be supported by clear, intelligent, quick-to-operate, pre-configurable software, which offers the peace of mind of automation, alerts and performance indicators.


Since conditions at sea are unpredictable, and no two operations are the same, DPOs must have the ability to quickly and simply control laser tilt, target acquisition, filters and all other aspects of sensor control.

Better target identification

The Fanbeam 5 unit is mounted over the working end of a vessel. The sensor emits invisible laser pulses, which bounce off custom reflectors mounted on rigs or other installations. These pulses are received back into the Fanbeam sensor.
  • Personnel on deck and reflective surfaces are no problem for Fanbeam 5, as the Fanbeam Controller 4.0 software identifies and rejects false observations.
  • Operators can pre-program range cut-offs for observations, so that anything out of range is filtered.
  • On-screen indicators warn of potentially false observations.
  • Our custom reflectors provide accuracy in a variety of conditions: tube reflectors offer low-cost 360° coverage for short-range operations, while prism clusters provide reliable positioning at longer ranges, up to 2000 m.
  • USB with Installation, Operation and Software Manual
  • Auto-level filtering means settings adjust automatically, to allow for changing conditions.
  • Operators can tilt the laser during operations, allowing for fine tuning at any time.

Applications in extreme environments

Fanbeam’s accuracy, reliability and ease of use make it ideal for a wide range of offshore projects, from bridge construction and windfarm installation through to platform supply. The following vessel types have adopted Fanbeam as their primary or secondary PRS:
  • Construction and multi-purpose support vessels
  • Anchor-handling tug supply vessels
  • Dredging and rock-dumping vessels
  • Heavy-lift construction semi-subs and dive support vessels
  • Windfarm construction vessels
  • Emergency towing vessels
  • Well-stimulation vessels
  • Platform supply vessels and crew supply vessels
  • Accommodation floatels
  • Shuttle tankers and FPSO

Why Fanbeam 5 is the laser position reference sensor of choice

  • Complementary to differential global positioning systems (DGPS), which can degrade when close to larger structures
  • Easy to install and quick to mobilise
  • Provides independent redundancy against other position reference systems
  • Fastest positional update rate on the market (typically, at least two readings per second)
  • Cost effective, using inexpensive passive reflectors
  • Minimum of 150 pulses per degree of horizontal rotation provides superior signal return from reflectors
  • Easy to operate, with thousands of DPOs already familiar with the system
  • Recognised by classification bodies and international standards
Workshop, Blackdog Croft
Bridge of Don Aberdeen
AB23 8BT
United Kingdom