Aquaponics Automation – Design Techniques

  •  Noel Scattini    
  •  Stanislaw MAJ    


Aquaponics operators that have transitioned from hobby to commercial operators have commonly failed to meet commercial expectations. One of the reasons for failures is the occurrence of severe technical errors. Unexpected events can often have drastic financial consequences on new operators, which could be initially operating within tight margins. Standard techniques like Hazard and Operability studies (HAZOP) are conducted by process and chemical industries to do systematic analysis on a process and its sub-systems. Many aquaponics operators are not familiar with these design processes and find design inadequacies after an event, which normally has financial consequences. This design process is able to identify disturbances that could lead to product deviation and identify hazards that could affect the environment. Identifying process issues and designing engineering controls to prevent or mitigate issues can be carried out in multiple forms or design tools. Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) is one such tool in a designer’s toolbox and is recognized as an international standard (IEC 60812), which describes techniques to analyze processes that can effect the reliability of a process plant or determine what possible hazards could be present. The use of FMEA has been utilized by industries to aid in carrying out HAZOP design processes, the use of these design processes can lead to inherently reliable processes. Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams also referred to as Process and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) are used in the process industry to show an overview of the process plant. The P&ID also identifies instruments that could be required for measurement and any associated alarms that are present to warn operators and mitigate failures in the process. The use of these design tools have identified and mitigated the risks within the initial design concept to prevent these technical errors with engineering controls designed into the process.

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