Sanford Business Challenges

These business challenges are closed

Sanford Ltd processes 1.5 million mussels per day. Processing that many molluscs presents all sorts of challenges. They were seeking novel proposals for High-speed Automated Processing Technologies

Mussels were graded via the mussel shell width, which in-turn estimated the mussel weight. This was important as each mussel is sorted and then blanched based on their predicted weight. Inaccuracies means many mussels are being under or over blanched. Industry needed a much more accurate method of predicting mussel weight – this was a high value challenge, that had global applications.

Ideas were pitched directly to Industry and innovation funders at the workshop associated with the AquacultureNZ conference.

$5,000 Prize for Best idea presented at AquacultureNZ Research Workshop 22nd Oct.

CHALLENGE #1
Non-invasive, high speed measuring mussel weight

Mussels were graded via the mussel shell width, which in-turn estimated the mussel weight. This was important as each mussel was sorted and then blanched based on their predicted weight. Inaccuracies means many mussels are being under or over blanched. Industry needed a much more accurate method of predicting mussel weight – this is a high value challenge, that had global applications.

Courtesy of Sanford, here is a video of the current Mussel sorting machine in action.

CHALLENGE #2
Better method to remove all mussel beards

Industry uses a machine called a Debysser to remove mussel beards. These machines were only 75% efficient in this task. Here is a video of it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kXBVVc6owM&t=2m11s. Could the efficiency be improved closer to 100%? Could you provide an alternative solution?

Courtesy of Sanford, here is a video of the current Mussel debysser in action (mussel beard remover).

CHALLENGE #3
Identifying a commercially viable use for mussel shells

After processing, there was a considerable number of discarded mussel shells left as a valuable resource. The seafood industry was keen to identify a commercially viable application for these left over mussel shells.

CHALLENGE #4
Identifying a commercially viable use for old mussel ropes

A similar situation to the mussel shells, old mussel rope embedded with ocean borne organic matter was constantly being removed as waste. The industry was eager to find a commercially viable opportunity utilising this currently discarded resource.

CHALLENGE #5
Automated notification of failed navigation lights

There was a need to improve the monitoring of marine navigations lights, critical for worker safety. Navigation lights needed to be constantly checked by hand. Could there be a retrofit innovation to autonomously signal when a bulb fails? This could have broad applications into a variety of marine situations.