General Research Staff

Ocean innovation pays off

IMPROVED: Dirk Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean bouy
IMPROVED: Dirk Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean bouy

Thinking out of the box has paid off for Dirk Muller, who opted for an innovative approach to solving a problem he identified whilst working on a research project.

A staff member at the TIA Adaptronics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Laboratory, Muller has designed and manufactured a prototype coastal metocean bouy.

Bouys are deployed all along our South African coast and are used by industry and government for oceanographic and atmospheric data sampling.

The data collected is crucial for severe weather prediction, disaster management, oceanographic research and coastal management.

Whilst interning at the Bayworld Centre for Research and Education, Muller explored the current buoy system and identified a shortfall in its functionality.

Muller says currently technicians have to remove the entire buoy from the ocean for servicing with the result that crucial data cannot be collected during service periods.

To counter this problem, Muller improved the functionality of the buoys by developing an improved buoy that features a modular design to simplify the operational procedures.

Thanks to his ingenious design, technicians will be able to easily service the buoy by simply removing the electronic module and replacing it with a temporary service module.

“This design will cut service cost and will ensure that minimal data is lost,” says Muller.

The design is also sleek, has improved solar power capabilities and stability.

The buoy prototype was tested in False Bay and two upgraded buoys will be deployed for testing in August in False Bay.

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