Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
Final Project Report
Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (AIMAP)
LBA Enterprises Ltd
P. O. Box 69
Little Bay, NL
Seed collection, stripping, grading, and socking operations is the most costly and labour intensive activities on a mussel farm in Newfoundland and Labrador. Seed is handled multiple times and is stored on working platforms for extended periods of time while individual pieces of equipment are installed and removed. During everyday operations, mainlines are raised, seed collectors are hauled onto the service barge, transferred by a first conveyor into a seed stripper, and then stored in 100lb-capacity trays. The trays are then stacked waiting completion of the stripping process and disconnection of these two pieces of equipment. At this point, another 2nd conveyor and seed grader have to be connected. The stacked trays then have to be dumped on the conveyor which feeds into the seed grader and then into trays for the final time before socking.
Configuration and design of hydraulic systems used by all growers is considered inadequate for the full demands of blue mussel aquaculture. Typically, each piece of equipment - the main line hauler/first conveyor, stripper/declumper, second conveyor/ seed grader, and seed socking machine - has its own hydraulics package to power the equipment. System demands often exceed capacity because the small pumps are usually not capable of maintaining the flow of oil needed to operate the motors at the recommended speeds. Consequently, hydraulic pumps are operated beyond rated capacity which causes overheating of oil, premature wear in both pumps and motors, and oil leaks which are unacceptable around food products and the environment.
With the new system, all machinery would run simultaneously with consistent seed flow. A new hydraulics system design would ideally have the oil capacity to operate multiple hydraulic motors at any given time. The benefits of such a system are threefold:
This new system is not available commercially. It must be custom designed and built. However, if this operates as anticipated, hydraulic systems redesign can benefit all growers.
Western Hydraulics Ltd. was engaged to design, construct, install, and test the hydraulics system. The following reconfiguration activities were undertaken:
The new hydraulic system was tested in Spring 2009. Hydraulics and attached equipment operated and functioned within rated capacity.
Seed collection-stripping-grading-socking trials revealed socking capacity of 250 trays per day or approximately 25,000lbs of seed socked per day. This represents an initial 20% improvement in socking capacity over the previous process. Further operational efficiencies are envisaged once experience is gained with the full capabilities of the system and farm work is scheduled accordingly.
From an employee health and safety perspective, seed pan handling practices have been changed. Seed pans are now manually handled only one time during seed collection, stripping, grading, and socking.
Two farmers have conducted site visits since completion of the project to evaluate the hydraulic system redesign. Feedback from the farmers and Provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture officials has been positive.
The removal of three gasoline engines previously engaged to operate hydraulics for each piece of equipment reduces fuel spill environmental and food safety risks.
Although not a premeditated design feature, the heat exhaust for the new hydraulic system has been re-directed to heat the wheelhouse and crew accommodations on the barge. This has been an unexpected “crew-comfort” benefit.