Alliance Rubber Company
Alliance Rubber Company is pleased to introduce the first fully-tested and approved banding machine
Alliance® Rubber Company is pleased to announce the launch of the first fully-tested and approved banding machine for lobsters and oysters. This machine provides consistent application speeds which, in turn, eliminates the primary source of pain and swelling that banders experience after a day (or lifetime) of manual banding.
In the 50 years that Alliance® has been providing seafood solutions to the industry they’ve become very familiar with the extreme demands of the profession. While commercial fishing has adapted and changed in some ways over those 50 years, it continues to be a very physically demanding line of work.
About the Study: Musculoskeletal Disorders in Northeast Lobstermen
In 2017, a call to action was published in the study, “Musculoskeletal Disorders in Northeast Lobstermen” where researchers concluded that equipment or technology to assist material handling should be a priority.
From that point forward, Alliance® decided to focus its efforts on the development of a banding machine. After partnering with mechanical engineers, a machine was developed and tested in the most heavily fished areas of Canadian Lobster Fishing Districts LFA 33, 34, and 35, located around the southwestern shores of Nova Scotia. It was through this process that they were able to identify specific needs for different captains, vessels, and banders of all levels of expertise and geographically distinct lobster populations. The machine was tested and adapted to meet those needs and left behind with several boat captains over a 30-day testing period. As new challenges were faced and overcome, Alliance® benefitted from the generosity of the lobstermen and their communities which gave their time and offered their honest critique to help the R&D team meet those challenges. Martin Collins, Captain of a lobster fishing vessel in LFA 35, was one of the captains that allowed us to test the bander on his vessel. According to Collins, “I normally rely on two guys to band the catches each season, but this time around they couldn’t make it. I had to hire a green bander at the last minute, who suffered from two torn rotator cuffs. To my surprise, this 55 year-old guy who couldn’t lift the traps, was able to process 15,000 lbs. of lobster on this machine without any issues what so ever. If it weren’t for this machine, I wouldn’t have made it through the season.”
In 2019, Alliance® also developed another iteration of the machine for oyster banding. The machine was presented to several clients in the oyster industry for testing within their operation. The reports Alliance® received from these clients were very encouraging. Those who used the oyster banding machine didn’t want to send it back, because they found it significantly increased efficiencies (which lowered their overhead costs). Needless to say, these clients purchased the oyster banding machines and have adopted them into their daily operations.
The complete process to develop both machine iterations took almost two years. Through the diligent work and persistence of the R&D team at Alliance®, as well as the numerous boat captains and seafood processing organizations who opened up their operations to the team, these machines are finally available to the public.
For those interested in seeing a demo of the machine, please visit https://www.rubberband.com/products/140/lobster-banding-machine to watch a short 2 minute video about the product.
Read the full study at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28951805