Sea Technology

DEC 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 28 of 52

28 st / December 2017 Jason Flanzbaum is the president/CEO of Boca Bearing. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Am- herst in 1995 with a de- gree in accounting and information systems. His first job out of col- lege was working for a local radio station setting up a CRM system for the sales team. This experi- ence played a big role in molding his future career, as he quickly recognized the significance that the customer-relationship process played in attaining business success. He was able to build upon this ex- perience in starting his own music-booking agency and eventually became an Act CRM consultant for music booking agents and managers; he would go on to launch the subscription-based Web platform Onlinegigs in 2002, a software-as-a-service model CRM for independent touring musicians. In 2003, Flanzbaum joined the family business of Boca Bear- ing after the passing of his stepmother, who was piv- otal in operating the company. Since then, he has helped Boca Bearing develop into a leader in the ceramic bearings market through constant product innovation. were in the thruster mounts. These bearings were used in the system that steered the trolling motors powering the vehicle. Using ceramic bear- ings was necessary for this ap- plication because this system is not intended to be disassembled for long periods of time and needs to be able to run smoothly with only fresh- water rinses after being in the ocean or intracoastal. Any bearing failure during the com- petition would have been devastating, precluding the team from having been able to finish the race. Similar steel or even standard stainless steel bearings would require replacement after any prolonged exposure to the elements, and changing them out would be too time consuming for competition. One other small benefit of using the ceramic bearings was weight reduc- tion. Full-ceramic bearings are usu- ally one-third of the weight of standard steel bearings. This small weight reduc- tion adds up to an advantage for the team in competition. RobotX 2016 The 2016 RobotX Maritime Chal- lenge was the second time the compe- tition had been put on by the AUVSI Foundation. The first RobotX was in Singapore, and the 2016 competition was in Honolulu, Hawaii. Competing teams had to complete the following tasks: demonstration of navigation and control; finding totems and avoiding obstacles; identifying symbols and dock; scanning the code on a buoy; underwater shape identifi- cation; finding a break on the seafloor; detection and delivery of objects relat- ed to a floating platform; and acoustic pinger-based transit. The FAU Marine Robotics Club col- laborated with Villanova University in a team effort for RobotX 2016, which took place December 11 to 18, 2016. The FAU-Villanova team was called Team WORX. Thirteen teams attended the RobotX, and they all had to figure out how to ship their 16-ft.-long boats from all over the world to Hawaii, then how to assemble the boats on site and prepare them for competition. Once a team had their vehicle assembled, they were then allowed to take it to the wa- ter and remote control it over to one of the three courses to which they had been assigned. In order to qualify for the semifinals, each team had to score points on five of the seven challenges. Before a team was allowed to attempt these challeng- es, however, they had to demonstrate autonomous control of their vehicle by running through the navigation chan- nel autonomously. This qualifying took place for the first four days of competi- tion, and the FAU-Villanova team was able to qualify for the semifinals on the last day allowed. This made it one of seven teams to make it to the semifi- nals. Since neither Team WORX nor Georgia Tech tallied any points in the semifinals, the two teams were al- lowed to go head-to-head in a wild- card to make it into the finals. The requirement was that, in order to get into the finals, the team must beat the other team and score 50 points on the course. Unfortunately for the Georgia Tech team, its port thruster went out, and they were unable to leave the beach. For Team WORX, there was a malfunction in the acoustics system, leaving the robot stuck on the first ob- stacle on the run and only able to score 10 points to place sixth. Overall, though, the competition was a great learning experience for all the engineers involved. Kudos to the Florida Gators (University of Florida) for their overall victory in the competi- tion. ST Inside the Boca Bearing facility in Boynton Beach, Florida.

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