Hawk Ridge Systems Helps MARE Design Underwater ROV with SolidWorks Software

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Hawk Ridge Systems (http://www.hawkridgesys.com) – 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 vehicle (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 population and ecosystem health. Conducting assessments in more locations to gain crucial information on ocean and marine life around the world requires a smaller, travel-friendly and cost-effective ROV. Designing the BATFish underwater glider completely in SolidWorks 3D CAD 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 cost 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. “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.

Rosen contends that SolidWorks was most effective for modeling custom pieces with great detail, like the BATFish’s movable wing structures. Simulation capabilities were also instrumental in the ROV’s evolution to ensure that the ROV would perform as desired once it hit the water. The BATFish’s wing structures, which allow it to glide through the water with ease, were tested with the help of SolidWorks software and modified directly in the software before starting the manufacturing process.

Time spent from concept to finished product was a major concern for MARE due to previous experience with design software. Rosen estimates that SolidWorks helped MARE go from “brain to beach” in at least double the speed. “SolidWorks helped avoid costly and time consuming prototyping cycles waiting for custom parts to be returned from manufacturers,” said Chung. “SolidWorks assists you in finding weak points immediately and provides excellent visualization tools to examine tolerances that you can test before ordering a physical part.”

“Thanks to SolidWorks, we’ve been able to take the BATFish from concept to reality very quickly. And the beauty is that its design capabilities can work for any project whether it’s a drag racer, robot or ROV,” said Rosen. “Innovation starts in our minds and SolidWorks helps bring these ideas to reality.”

“The BATFish will give scientists insights into improvements in rockfish stocks, provide theories on how to create a better environment for rockfish to thrive, and sustain a huge source of food that will be crucial to feeding the future population,” said Glenn Compton, SolidWorks Simulation Sales Manager at Hawk Ridge Systems. “It’s both inspiring and encouraging to see projects like the BATFish realized with SolidWorks design software.”

About Hawk Ridge Systems Hawk Ridge Systems is the leading global provider of engineering design solutions, including sales, support, services and training for SolidWorks 3D Design, CAMWorks and 3D Systems printers and rapid prototyping machines. A leader in engineering design since 1996, Hawk Ridge Systems delivers design and manufacturing solutions for 3D CAD, Simulation and Analysis, Product Data Management, Electrical System Design, Technical Communication and CAM. Hawk Ridge Systems has 15 offices and training centers in the United States and Canada, serving over 23,000 SolidWorks users. Hawk Ridge Systems helps companies optimize their use of design technologies to realize business results.

About MARE – Marine Applied Research and Exploration     MARE is a not-for-profit that provides technology and offshore operations expertise needed to see and work in deepwater marine environments – those beyond the reach of most divers. We collaborate with scientists, resource managers and environmental organizations to obtain geo-referenced, habitat and species data with the goal of protecting and restoring marine ecosystems. http://www.maregroup.org


Kimberly Enright