A team of engineering apprentice students from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have been awarded £3000 to develop their prototype safety device for the fishing industry.

Level 3 Manufacturing Engineering apprentices, Jake Walker, Cameron McKee, Daniel McClements and James Coffey along with a project team consisting of members from the University of the Third Age (3UA) and SERC Engineering lecturers, created a device that could accurately calculate the length of the cable that has been released or retrieved when fishing. The team have been awarded a £3000 grant from the Walney Community Fund and plan to use the support to address electronic adaptions required for their device in the development of a table top prototype.

Their project, Advanced Numerical Control Panel Operating System (ANCPOS), focused on replacing the manual count by fishermen of warp windings and operating winches with a device that could instead accurately calculate the length of the cable that has been released or retrieved when fishing. As a result of using this device, the fishermen could read the calculation on an electronical device rather than stand in a dangerous position to measure the cable, which if snapped, crew members would find themselves directly in the path of the recoiling warp.

Aurla McLoughlin, Deputy Head of Enterprise at SERC, said, “The students, all from the Ards Peninsula, opened the Northern Ireland Fishermen’s Safety Forum last month at the Stormont Hotel, presenting their project plan, results of the initial rigor testing and details of the next stages of the project which were very well received from the sector.

She added, “They are a dynamic group who have shown an abundance of innovative and enterprising traits alongside determination and resilience to get this project over the line. They have been instrumental in their own success to date with support from Kelvin McGreeghan, Engineering Lecturer, SERC, placement provider Magellan Aerospace, the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation and SEAFISH, the non - departmental public body set up to import efficiency and raise standards across the seafood industry, all behind them.”

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