A feed system for the future of the aquaculture industry
AKVA group has spent a lot of time and resources developing a tool that will make the feeding process in fish farms simpler, faster and easier to follow. The result is Flexible Feeding, and this product has been referred to as "revolutionary" and "the biggest thing that has happened in feeding for many, many years".
– In simple terms, what we have done is to combine two systems that have never been used together in this way in the aquaculture industry. A chain conveyor system, similar to that used in many other industries, is connected to the central feeding system that Ole Molaug developed in 1980 and goes via the buffer tanks to the cage. This gives you the opportunity to extract feed from any silo to any, and this is a considerable advantage for the fish farmer, explains Tore Obrestad, Technical Manager at AKVA group.
Efficient feed handling
Currently, it is usually the case that each individual cage is connected to one specific silo via a feed line. It creates logistical challenges, and requires a lot of time to move feed from one silo to another if you are going to feed smolt or need special feed in a cage.
– With the Flexible Feeding system, feed is fetched from a selected silo to a buffer tank, and then into the cage. This makes the feeding process much more efficient and makes it much easier to use several feed types, different pellet sizes and the like, says Jan Rune Erikstad, the Project Manager and Product Manager for Feed Systems at AKVA group. He points out that this system also addresses challenges associated with the ballasting of feed barges, by having a complete overview of how much is sent from which silos to the buffer tanks.
The customers are eagerly waiting for the product to be released and we are well underway in the development process. The Principle behind this flexible solution was explained to 40 fish farmers during the Biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen in February, and Tore Obrestad says that the feedback was very good.
- All fish farmers that we have talked to about this have been very positive and this is definitely a system many people are eager to see. We already have customers who have made adaptations for this and we are regularly asked when it will be released, but we are making sure that it works as intended before we send it out into the world, says Obrestad.
Will become the new standard
Flexible Feeding, was introduced during Aqua Nor in Trondheim in August, and has been tested at Alsaker Fjordbruk since the beginning of July. This was the source of the comments that we are witnessing a revolution, and the biggest thing that has happened within feeding for many, many years.
– These are big words, but I am pretty sure that they are right. I do not know about anything else that can have as much impact on how feed is handled. It is in any case incredibly nice to hear positive feedback, and now we will create a product that meets the expectations. I am of the belief that at least 50 percent of all new barges will have this system in the future, says Jan Rune Erikstad, who is behind the invention.
– We are very positive about this system. By all means, there have been some issues, as with all new technology, so I do not want to brag too much just yet, but I am confident that AKVA group will find solutions for the challenges. Then this system will be a real time saver for the aquaculture industry, and be positive for both the employees and the fish, as well as the bottom line, explains Hans Helge Vik, Production Director at Alsaker Fjordbruk.
Flexible Feeding is now being installed at two other selected customers, so that AKVA group can get feedback on how it works and make adjustments if needed. In addition, an in-house test lab is being developed at AKVA group in Bryne for carrying out troubleshooting and improvements.
– We are taking this step by step until we reach the goal with the desired result. AKVA group's job is to create products and solutions that make everyday life easier, better and more efficient for the aquaculture industry. The Flexible Feeding system is an excellent example of this, and I look forward to the continued work, and to letting our customers know more about what they can expect from this product when it is released in 2018, concludes Tore Obrestad.