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Let an ROV do the dirty work – it pays off

Technology & equipment

With an ROV based net cleaner from AKVA group, fish farmers and service companies have got their hands on a more efficient tool than ever before. Now a new model is introduced, reducing net wear to an absolute minimum.

Vikahav AS is a trusted partner to several aquaculture companies in the Trøndelag area. MS Vikabas is one of the company’s newest service boats

© AKVA Group

As service provider to the fish farming industry, two factors matter the most to Frode Viken and his team in Vikahav AS: The net cleaning process must be as efficient as possible and without damaging their client’s nets. After the company started using its first ROV based net cleaner from AKVA group for almost two years ago, they have been able to step up their game and take on far more assignments than earlier.

“ROV technology is expensive, but it’s definitely been worth the investment for us. From using manual washing rigs where a large proportion of the water was used to hold the rig against the net instead of cleaning, we are now controlling the entire process from a pilot chair in the control room. The net cleaner is easy to control, it slides gently along the net and performs the job in a fraction of the time we used before,” he says.

New generation

The AKVA FNC8 net cleaner is developed by the Norwegian ROV manufacturer Sperre ROV Technology at Notodden. The company, which is part of AKVA group, has had a close cooperation with its clients to make the net cleaner as good as possible. This has resulted in a new generation which is now being introduced to the market.

“The fact that the FNC8 cleaner neither uses wheels nor belts to move along the net, makes it stand out from competing solutions by ensuring a careful cleaning process without mechanical wear. However, as long as we are using high-pressure water there will always be some wear on the impregnation. Our latest model does the job with higher water flow than its predecessor, allowing us to reduce the pressure and wear to an absolute minimum without affecting the performance,” explains General Manager in Sperre ROV Technology, Thor Olav Sperre.

The AKVA FNC8 net cleaner is delivered with a high-pressure system from KAMAT, which ensures the correct flow and pressure. On the latest model, the thrusters and cleaning discs have been placed closer to the edge of the frame to maximize the cleaning surface and make it even easier to cleaner corners and the top meter of the net. The cleaner now also comes with a standard of four integrated IP cameras, unlike two in the first generation. This gives the pilot an even better overview and control with the cleaning process.

Customer-oriented development

More than 50 AKVA FNC8 net cleaners have been sold since the product was introduced almost two years ago. Sales responsible in AKVA group, Roy Ohren, is pleased with the response and praises the customers for their good cooperation and valuable feedback.

“Customers like Vikahav make us better. Real-life experiences with the product provide us with a basis for improvement and enables us to address our customers’ everyday challenges,” he says, adding:

“Over the last two years, we’ve received a lot of good feedback about the FNC8 cleaner’s manoeuvrability and cleaning performance even on loose nets. Meanwhile, we’ve learned that it’s been somewhat difficult to keep track of which areas of the cage that have been cleaned. This is why we’re now also offering a positioning system from Water Linked with the new model, which uses hydroacoustics to continuously display the FNC8 cleaner’s position.”

Tested at Vikahav

Vikahav has been a pilot customer and was also the first company to use FNC8 cleaners in their daily operations. Today, the company has six ROV cleaners. Frode Viken is very satisfied with the new model.

“The FNC8 cleaners have made our workday easier and enabled us to streamline our operations. Benefits such as larger cleaning surface, positioning tool and not least lower water pressure also raises the quality of our services and makes us a more attractive supplier,” Frode Viken concludes.