Robox Aqua helps overcome space restrictions on feed barges12 June 2019

Marine equipment, technology and engineering business Gael Force Group has specified compact Robox Aqua blower technology from Gardner Denver’s Robuschi brand, to help it to overcome challenging space restrictions on the company’s marine feed barges.

Gael Force Group is a manufacturer and supplier of feed barges for the aquaculture industry. These feed barges contain compressor and blower technology to help on-site staff feed and care for their stock. The feed lines require low pressure, high volume technology to ensure the air flow rate remains at a suitable level when delivering feed to the pens holding the fish, achieved via a pneumatic conveying system. This is because the feed pellets are susceptible to damage and can be easily lost while being conveyed. Compressed air is also used for a range of other operational processes, such as conditioning and aeration during farm treatments.

A common challenge for feed barges, however, is available on-board space. Neil MacDonald, project and design engineer at Gael Force Group, explains: “Over the last year, we have installed the 22 kW and 30 kW Robox ES45/2P units onto our barges, plus the new 30 kW Robox Aqua technology. While using the standard Robox blowers for typical installations, we sometimes have to contend with tight space restrictions. The Robox Aqua is very effective at increasing our capacity, with a reduced footprint over the standard Robox unit.

“In fact, the reduced width of the Robox Aqua enabled us to win a contract for an eight-blower system, which would not have been possible with the standard Robox unit. Typically, there would have only been space for six fish feeding lines, but the new Robox Aqua meant eight could be accommodated – a big benefit to our customer, as it meant they could increase the barge’s output capacity.

“While relatively new to the industry, the Robox Aqua uses the same technology as the ES and EL models, but the system is directly driven, rather than the belt arrangement that’s currently in place in the ES units. In the long run, we believe this will offer us reduced maintenance and longer service life.”

The Robox Aqua rotary lobe blower can allow for pressure up to 1000 mbar (g), volume flow up to 700 m3/h and motor power up to 30 kW. The unit also consists of fewer components for ease of installation, and an improved sound enclosure is said to reduce noise levels to lower than 80 db(A).

MacDonald continues: “The Robox Aqua units have been operational on-site since September 2018 and have run without issue during this period. The fact there has not been a single issue with the installed units during this time is commendable.”

Umberto Onetti, aquaculture key account manager at Gardner Denver, adds: “With barge space often at a premium, the small footprint and excellent performance of the Robox Aqua makes it a very attractive solution to those in the aquaculture industry. It can help increase capacity, ensuring Gael Force Group’s customers can meet their requirements.”

Adam Offord

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