Barcode Pinpoints Fish Stocks
21 April 2011
On a dark stormy night, when fish farmers lay awake wondering if their huge kilometre long cages, filled with tons of stock, are drifting away in the open sea, one company has found the answer to a good night's sleep.
Tasmanian-based Dive Works has integrated three complimentary technologies, including barcode technology, into a comprehensive solution that will reduce the risk to investment and maritime safety, of cages coming adrift.
The three systems include verification of anchorage, mapping to monitor a shift in location; and a check on the integrity of links and shackles.
When setting the anchor points, Dive Works use a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV to observe the procedure and ensure the correct positioning and soundness of the anchorage.
Next the latitude and longitude of each anchor point is recorded into a mapping system. A reflector with a barcode is located at each anchor point so that the ROV can roam around making routine checks and alert the operator to any shift in a location.
Ongoing, the Falcon ROV is used to check the thickness of chains and shackles using ultrasonic thickness technology, ready to replace those at risk before they break. The UT probe fitted to the ROV does not need to touch the metal part to capture a reading and transfer the data topside, where time, date and thickness is displayed and logged.
Dive Works chose the top selling Saab Seaeye Falcon for its power to hold steady in strong cross currents whilst undertaking delicate tasks or filming, yet is small enough to be manhandled. It is also packed with technological innovations, such as intelligent ‘plug-and-go' electronics that enable different tooling to be added and changed as needed.
With fish farming a growing industry across the world and yields of 90 million tonnes a year, Dive Works' MD Andrew Ford sees the Net Secure System as having a global appeal.
No other integrated system of its type exists, and is born from Andrew Ford's long experience in using ROVs in the fish farming industry.
He was first to devise ingenious ways to solve problems that had beset the early industry, particularly removing dead fish and keeping nets clean from growth to allow the free flow of water. Inventively he created specialist tooling that attached to the Falcon and took advantage of the vehicle's thruster power and easy tool attachment capability.
Ford was early to spot the advantages of using ROVs in the fish farming industry and was able to identify those tasks best suited to an underwater vehicle rather than his diving team. He was particularly attracted to the fact an ROV can work tirelessly and safely.
In his new Net Secure System he has again found clever ways to exploit advanced ROV technology to solve underwater problems.