MPI ramps up cage cleaning technology

MPI ramps up cage cleaning technology MPI's new JetMaster prototype was launched at this year’s AquaNor in Trondheim

Norwegian company MPI (Multi Pump Innovation) knew it had an exciting new product on its hands with its new JetMaster but it was only when the prototype went on show at the AquaNor exhibition at Trondheim that they realised what this technology means for the aquaculture industry worldwide.

Already established over the past decade with the RONC system, which was followed by the very popular RaceMaster in recent years, the development of the JetMaster is he result of MPI’s strong belief in investment in research and development. While the introduction less than two years ago of the RaceMaster, a remote-controlled robot with the capability to completely clean a fish farm cage and remove all marine growth,  has been a success, the new JetMaster offers further potential while giving customers more choice in selecting which model suits their individual needs best.

The main difference between RaceMaster and the new JetMaster is that the latter requires no belts to climb along the meshes of the cage and a series of electro magnetic rim thrusters keep the robot in place while it cleans away the marine growth.​ A further benefit of the JetMaster is that the rim thrusters are easier to maintain compared to traditional thrusters as they only require a change of bearings every 1000 hrs (which can easily be done by the operator at the vessel) and this is the only maintenance that is needed to run it for up to 15,000 hours.

According to MPI’s CEO Kåre Myrvåg, the JetMaster has been a major technology leap and something the aquaculture industry had been crying out for.

“Certainly having a cleaning robot that requires no climbing belts will be an attractive option for some customers but for us at MPI it’s the innovation of having electro-magnetic rim thrusters and going from hydraulics to electro-magnetics that is the exciting part of this project,” he explained.

Indeed while the use of thrusters is nothing new, the decision to use rim thrusters, with the blades are attached to the rim of the nozzle instead of to a centre core as in a propeller, means that the actual centre of the thruster is clear with much less chance of blocks occurring due to debris or ropes becoming entangled.

“For JetMaster users, despite each thruster deploying the equivalent of 54 kilos of water pressure, the total power requirement of 17kW is very manageable for any farm site vessel and with this new model consisting of far fewer moving parts, worktime will be increased while maintenance requirements, such as belt replacements, will decrease,” he added, commenting that the power requirements for JetMaster is already proving to be a big attraction for customers as the thruster jets do not need to be driven at full pressure to complete its task of cleaning the cages efficiently.

As with the RaceMaster joining the RONC system, and now the JetMaster adding to the range of products, MPI have no intention of resting on their laurels and, despite the JetMaster prototype still at the trials stage, the company’s research and development department is already at work on the next stage of development.

“This is a competitive business and naturally everyone wants to be leading the market. We are of course keen to not just stay ahead in the field, but we want to be able to provide the industry with the best possible technology,” Kåre Myrvåg said.

“Our focus for the immediate future will be the addition of a collection system so that when our robots are blowing marine debris and growth off the cages, we can have a suction system to return this debris to the farm vessel and thereby remove it completely from the site. However, we don’t just want to give our customers a suction system and then leave them with the problem of debris sitting on their fish farm vessel – we want to give them a turnkey solution that will deal with this issue completely. I see it as our task at MPI to offer fish farmers solutions and not additional problems.”

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