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MARE Designs in SolidWorks Software to Illuminate the Oceans’ Unknowns
MARE’s BATFish improved speed, size and savings of oceanographic surveys with SolidWorks design technology

Protecting and restoring the world’s marine ecosystems is a growing concern due to overfishing and pollution. Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) is taking a leading role in developing submersible technologies to conduct deep-water science and monitoring surveys to help evaluate marine conditions. In order to conduct the assessments more cost effectively, MARE turned to leading worldwide SolidWorks® reseller Hawk Ridge Systems to help design the BATFish, its next generation remote operated underwater vehicles (ROV).

Currently, focused on the West Coast, MARE has completed a large number of surveys in California’s fishing reserves, where it is monitoring the rockfish populations and ecosystem health. Conducting assessments in more locations to gain crucial information on oceans’ and marine life around the world would require a smaller, travel-friendly and cost-effective ROV. Designing the BATFish underwater glider completely in SolidWorks allowed Dirk Rosen, MARE executive director, and Raysad Chung, design engineer, to focus on three factors crucial to bringing an ROV like BATFish to life: speed, size and savings.

Portability, transportation and size are key factors in the ROV design. When it comes to successful underwater surveys, the best ROVs are simple to transport and disassemble. Prior to the BATFish, an ROV’s size often limited how survey machines were transported to sites and the size of boats from which they could be deployed. ROV transportation normally involved loading the device onto a pickup truck and trailer and driving it to each research site. Ultimately, this travel time reduces time that could be spent surveying underwater.

“The BATFish is MARE’s answer to the ROV transportation problem,” Rosen said. “Instead of using a trailer, we can now transport the ROV in suitcases, hop on a plane and drive a rental car to any survey site. With SolidWorks we were able to shrink the BATFish into a much smaller space that can be assembled onsite and get underwater within an hour.” With its new portability, MARE has the potential to conduct surveys anywhere around the world.

Cost is another common roadblock for oceanic surveys. Deep-water assessments conducted with an ROV are expensive -- traditional surveys, due to boat leases and crew fees, typically cost upwards of $6,000 per day. Rosen came to the realization that downsizing ROVs would not only improve portability, but would cut ocean survey costs by approximately 60 percent. The BATFish’s smaller footprint decreases the size of the boat required to operate the ROV and cuts the number of crew required to conduct a survey in half. Rosen is now able to put the BATFish into the water with a Boston Whaler at a cost of $500 per day.

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Published 2013-05-21 00:00:00