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Function and Flow: How NSCC researchers are improving this sea cucumber plant

A research team from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is streamlining production processes for Atlantic Sea Cucumber Ltd., a Nova Scotia sea cucumber fishery that opened in July 2016.

Sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, specifically in eastern Asia, and the global demand for this sea creature is continuing to grow as more countries become aware of its medicinal properties. Atlantic Sea Cucumbers is one of many fisheries trying to capitalize on this bourgeoning market, which is why it had to ramp-up its production processes.

The company, which according to its website produces 1100 pounds of wild sea cucumbers per day, sought the expertise of the research team at NSCC’s Engineered Technologies Applied Research Lab (ETARLab) to refine its processes.

The production of sea cucumbers includes cleaning, cooking, drying and packaging, which is all done right out of the company’s plant in Hackett’s Bay, NS. But it needed a technical solution to make its quality and processing metrics more efficient.

To date, NSCC’s team has completed preliminary assessments and evaluated Atlantic Sea Cucumber’s current production. The project is currently in the second year of its four-phase plan.

“Analyzing the process flow of Atlantic Sea Cucumber demonstrated the need to automate and redesign several operations and rearrange the process flow layout,” said Mo Shamma, a research associate with the ETARLab.

“[We’re] creating different concept design alternatives for various operations to help Atlantic Sea Cucumber process their products more efficiently, producing quality sea cucumbers, saving them time and money.”

Based on their results, the ETARLab team is now using their expertise in industrial and mechanical engineering, and data analytics to design and develop leading-edge production technologies. By making Atlantic Sea Cucumber’s process more efficient, the company can continue to grow their business.

This is just one example of how our network can improve business practices. Springboard Atlantic is proud to have over 10,000 researchers in its network with experts in fields such as: life sciences, mathematics, engineering and so much more. We aim to help Atlantic Canadian industries and business solve problems and identify new opportunities through applied research.

Our network has access to researchers that can help already established businesses optimize its production processes, but we can do so much more. We have researchers who can help turn waste streams into new products, develop algorithms to process large data sets or test and improve new technologies before they hit the market.

Read more on how the #TeamSB network is helping Atlantic Canadian businesses here.