Mussel Harvester for Clearwater Mussels, Havelock

Hi-tech mussel harvester for Clearwater Mussels, Havelock.

Clearwater Mussels in Havelock has a “sophisticated” new mussel harvester working in its mussel farms in Golden Bay, Tasman Bay and the Sounds, thanks to the hydraulic engineering expertise of FPS.

Named Clearwater Resolution, the boat was built by Profab Engineering in Palmerston North, while FPS designed, built and installed the hydraulics system that runs all the harvesting equipment, seeding equipment, crane, anchor winch, high flow water pump, bow thruster, and steering.

The FPS team carried out the first stage of work installing the hydraulic pipework in Palmerston North, then completed the external hydraulics when the boat was shifted to Havelock.

Clearwater Mussels operations manager Mike Holland says the company has had a long association with FPS and trusted them to do a good job. “We wanted a business to design the hydraulics that would still be around in ten years to maintain the system.”

FPS sales engineer Owen Little describes the hydraulics on the Clearwater Mussel Harvester as the “most sophisticated system we’ve built to date”. He says the system is critical to the smooth-running of the mussel farming process.

“The hydraulics system is responsible for carrying out all the heavy work on the boat; lifting lines out of the water, driving the harvesting gear (de-clumper, rope washer, grader, bagging machine and walking wheels) and also working the crane that lifts the 1-tonne bags on and off the boat. It even seeds the lines, where the spat goes onto the ropes before the lines are fed into the water.”

As well as including a bow thruster as requested by the client, which allows the front of the boat to move left and right when in port and around the farms, FPS also designed energy efficient hydraulics to reduce operating costs. The fuel conscious system saves fuel usage by working the hydraulics ‘on demand’ only, with the potential to save 2-3 litres of fuel per hour.