“Pisces is moving new ideas into an older industry… this is another stage in adding technology so that we can fish smarter”

Steve Ogborne, Mechanical Lead at SafetyNet Technologies tells us about the three pillars of mechanics at SafetyNet and his view on how the technology and fishing industries will integrate in the future.

Hi Steve, can you please tell us what your role is here at SafetyNet Technologies? 

I’m the lead Mechanical Engineer at SafetyNet, and that means that I head up the mechanical side of the product development. This involves housing, mounting and movement – all the things that happen around the electronics. I work from concept design, through detailed design, through prototyping, and into manufacturing. Essentially, the whole production process of anything which is related to the mechanics of the products.

Can you talk us through your typical day at SNTech?

I’d say there are three pillars to my work: Design, Prototype and Manufacture. This means three types of typical day. One day, I’ll be sitting in front of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) programme, in my case, specifically for 3D geometry. This is where I produce the design for all of our products, and where I make sure all the parts fit together, and that they can be manufactured, as some parts can only be made in a particular way. Another day would be more physical, perhaps I’d be working on a prototype, or performing tests, or assembling products. This involves being in the workshop, maybe 3D printing or building some samples with the materials I have to hand. The third type of day involves logistics. Once we have the final designs, we need to have them manufactured, so I need to produce documents and communicate with partners to make, assemble and ship the products to us. 

At the moment, what stage are you at with the mechanical engineering of Pisces?

Generally we’re at a manufacturing stage with Pisces, working with our production partner to set up the logistics of mass manufacturing. For me today though, it’s all about design. I am making some revisions to some parts before communicating that to our manufacturing partners. I am also progressing designs of a new version to the wireless charging unit.

Tell me more about the Pisces product. How does it work from a mechanical perspective?

So as you know, Pisces is a light that attaches to fishing gear and is designed to work underwater. From a mechanical perspective that means it has to withstand 100s of metres of water pressure and keep seawater away from the electronics. Our team performs deep water, vibration and impact testing to see exactly how tough Pisces is! Pisces also needs to easily attach and detach from nets in a way that fits in smoothly with the fishing activities on the ship. We send batches of development devices to our fishing partners to make sure they work and meet their requirements. Lastly Pisces wouldn’t work if there weren’t lots of them. We’re currently preparing to manufacture them at scale. The challenge with making products on a large scale is that we need to get someone else to do it! We have to communicate all the knowledge we’ve gained from creating the product to somebody else. Our manufacturing documentation needs to specify what quality is needed so that our product can face the great depths and harsh conditions that it will be exposed to. It needs to stand up to the challenge of life at sea time and time again.

What is the best thing about your job?

The thing that has kept me here is the team. Everyone here is smart, considerate and fun to work with. That, and it feels like we are solving a real problem.

What does the future of fishing look like in a post-Pisces world?

I think what Pisces is doing is moving new ideas into an older industry. People have been fishing for thousands of years and there have been lots of developments along the way. This is another stage in that; adding technology so that we can fish smarter. I believe that in time, we’re going to see more people working with fishers, learning from their years of expertise, and adding progressively more to help fishing move to the next level of efficiency and environmental consideration. By doing this, hopefully we can ensure fishing as a livelihood for future generations to come.

If you work in the fishing industry and are interested in finding out more about how our Pisces product can support your business, contact our customer success team: enquiries@sntech.co.uk