Garware Technical Fibres has created a robot that can test the resistance of a network against predatory attack.
The robot, said to be the first of its kind, simulates the force of a bite from, say, a sea lion or other predator that is trying to penetrate the cage nets to reach the fish inside.
Attacks from predators are a continual problem for the aquaculture industry with breaks in nets estimated to be responsible for 60% of fish losses. Garware Technical Fibres has used 3D print technology to create the robotic jaw which is capable of simulating a bite force ranging from 5 kgF to 100 kgF.
“Our R&D team 3D printed a sea lion skull and then robotised the jaws, creating the aquaculture industry’s first bite force robot capable of simulating bite force as well as pushing and pulling in its position, emulating the real-life scenario for different predators,” said Gopakumar Menon, Americas Garware Technical Fibres’ general manager.
The Indian company also produces the Sapphire Ultra Core MBX and Sapphire Ultra Guard predator nets. These have been deployed successfully in Chile where farming centres are now reporting almost zero losses.
“Polyethylene fibre nets with a stainless steel core minimise the effects of predator attacks, with a high resistance to cutting by sea lions, five to six times stronger than nylon or polyester,” said Francisco Serra, business associate Garware Chile.