The discs and bobbins sold by Icelandic engineering company Vélsmiðja Grundarfjarðar have been attracting interest and a couple of customers for these footrope components – made from military grade rubber – have been coming back for more.
According to Thórður Áskell Magnússon, one of the owners of Vélsmiðja Grundarfjarðar, they started searching for alternatives to the usual hopper discs cut from old earthmover tyres as the supply of these is slowing down, plus tyre rubber contains steel threads that make recycling problematic.
A long search for something suitable finally took him to a producer in eastern Europe, and to some military grade super-rubber of the kind used for tank track rollers and jet aircraft tyres.
‘The rockhopper discs are moulded from this high-grade rubber in a 70-tonne press,’ he said.
‘They aren’t cheap, but the indications are that they last and we have customers who have been placing repeat orders with us for these. These weigh only 7kg in water, so this isn’t a heavy rockhopper to tow.’
The rubber used in conventional bobbins is the same high grade, but pressed at a lower pressure, and the cost is consequently lower.
‘We can produce these in any size, weight of thickness the customer wants, with opportunities for discounts for large consignments, and we can supply individual components or complete footropes,’ he said, adding that while these are still new on the market, the response has been positive and he sees a lot of possibilities for these for trawl gears of all sizes.
‘These aren’t cut from old tyres that have been sourced from different places, but are produced under controlled conditions. So the quality is absolutely standard,’ he added, commenting that this is an addition to the company’s usual business of supplying both marine and general engineering services.