Technology

An Easy Shift for Commercial Fishermen

Tags: ZF Marine, Efficiency
During lobster and stone crab season Captain Butch Hewlett and his crew are throwing lines off the dock and heading out at 5:30am. Awaiting them are 500 to 600 traps that will need to be hauled, harvested, reset and sent back overboard.
Martin Meissner, August 22, 2018
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Martin Meissner is Marketing and Communications Manager for Industrial Technology in North America.
On board, the Supershift2 transmission technology from ZF allows for almost immediate, and smooth gear engagement - there is no sudden lunge forward or typical loud engagement, the sudden splashing of water against the sea wall from the ZF Propeller and movement away from the mooring pylons are the only indications that the boat has gone into gear.

As Captain Hewlett maneuvers the boat out of the harbour, the crew goes about their various tasks making the boat ready for the long day ahead. As they approach the line of traps that have been “soaking” on the ocean floor, the captain slows. The routine will be one that’s repeated for everyone of the hundreds of traps on the floor. The boat goes into neutral as they pass the buoy, hook the buoy, put the line into the winch, boat goes back into gear, wind in the trap, slide it across the transom, pull out the crabs or lobsters, rebait the trap and drop it back into the Atlantic. The cycle repeats, over, and over and over again. Sometimes, the mate may miss a buoy, and Captain Hewlett will put the boat into astern and back up, then carry on ahead again. All in all, a typical day will result in the transmission being shifted over 1000 times. If there was ever an application that would test the strength and durability of a transmission and it’s shift technology, this is it. As they haul trap after trap like a well oiled machine, the crew say that the new transmission, with its smooth shifting really makes a difference. They don’t have to physically brace for the shift in and out of gear, because they don’t feel it anymore. It’s a small thing, but bracing for the surge with each shift really adds to the physical strain, never mind the work at hand. The long day ends late with the unloading of the catch, and a wash down of the boat and all it’s equipment. It will be a short night at home, as 5:30 will come early again, but with a short season and a quota to catch, the money is made when the sun shines, or maybe a bit before.

The clock is ticking when Captain Butch Hewlett takes his fishing vessel, the Miss Barbara Ann out to sea during both stone crab and lobster seasons. The crew hauls 5-600 traps per day. Each trap sees the ZF CruiseCommand controls shift the ZF Supershift2 transmission in and out of gear. Every time dependably engaging quickly and smoothly, with no surge. Shifting technology from ZF, easier on equipment, easier on the crew.