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November 5, 2014
Ricardo L. Arias
PENTAIR Aquatic Eco-Systems
At the Tenth Central American Aquaculture Symposium (Tegucigalpa, Honduras, August 27–29, 2014), I interviewed Ricardo Arias, Manager of Global Sales/Latin America for PENTAIR Aquatic Eco-Systems, which sells a wide range of products to shrimp farmers worldwide.
Shrimp News: I understand that you were a freshwater prawn farmer at the beginning of your career. Where were you farming prawns?
Ricardo Arias: In the early 1980s, I worked in a hatchery and a small prawn farm in the Dominican Republic. I also worked with the Universidad Central del Este as Director of the Aquaculture Experimental Center, where we trained technicians and prospective prawn farmers.
Shrimp News: Your company used to be named “Aquatic Eco-Systems”, why is it now “PENTAIR Aquatic Eco-Systems?
Ricardo Arias: Aquatic Eco-Systems was started about thirty-five years ago, and today it is one of the leading suppliers of aquaculture equipment for fish and shellfish farmers in the world. Bob Hideman, who died in 2008, founded the company to do lake aeration and lake restoration in the United States. Then, in the late 1980s, the company began selling products to the aquaculture industries through a small, pocket-size catalog containing the latest technical advice and equipment selections utilized in aquaculture. At the beginning, we concentrated on the United States market, but in the early 1990s, we began selling our products to shrimp farmers worldwide. Today we serve over 150 countries. We still do the free catalog, which we will mail to anyone in the world. All our products are available through the catalog and at our website. PENTAIR, an industrial machinery company headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, with 2013 revenues of $7.5 billion and more than 30,000 employees, acquired Aquatic Eco-Systems in 2012, and its name was changed to PENTAIR Aquatic Eco-Systems. PENTAIR brought its manufacturing and engineering capability to our full range of products.
Shrimp News: Today, what are your primary products for shrimp hatcheries and shrimp farms?
Ricardo Arias: Our core products for the shrimp farming industries are aerators and aeration systems, filters, water pumps, monitors and controllers and UV sterilizers. We sell the Sweetwater® Regenerative Blower, an air blower that has been a standard piece of equipment in shrimp hatcheries for thirty-five years. It’s now being used in shrimp nursery and raceway systems that have regained popularity around the world. We also market PENTAIR pumps that were specifically designed for use in saltwater and are popular on shrimp farms. The Verus 850 premium efficiency aquaculture duty centrifugal pump, made from plastic with stainless steel fasteners, was designed for saltwater use and comes in five, seven and a half, ten and fifteen horsepower models that provide up to 800 gallons of water a minute.
Shrimp News: You also have products for monitoring shrimp hatchery functions. Tell me a little about them?
Ricardo Arias: Our Point-Four LC water monitoring systems turn on and off equipment and record data on water quality variables, like temperature, pH and oxygen levels. They can be used in conjunction with the PT4 RIU3 remote interface unit to collect, manipulate and control all the data using our PT4 Windows based software. All that information can be downloaded into a personal computer for further analysis in Excel and integrated with alarm systems that alert the hatchery managers to emergency situations. Our proprietary Point-Four Sync HMI computer software will even send an instant message to your mobile phone when an emergency occurs.
Shrimp News: Tell me about your pump with constant flow technology?
Ricardo Arias: PENTAIR just developed a state-of-the-art pump for Aquatic Eco-Systems that has constant flow technology. It’s called the “Sparus pump with CFT”, and it’s the world’s first aquaculture duty pump to deliver a constant user defined flow. It was specifically designed for the aquaculture industries and will always provide a consistent flow of water. It’s a programmable pump that you can set, for example, for fifty gallons a minute, and no matter what happens to your water pressure—an increase or decrease—it will always deliver fifty gallons a minute. This becomes significant in shrimp hatcheries that filer water through sand filters or other equipment that exhibits fluctuations in pressure. If the sand filter gets clogged the pressure will increase and the Sparus CFT motor will self-adjust to maintain the constant flow set by the user. It’s also an energy saver because it always runs at the lowest RPMs possible.
Shrimp News: What other products do you have that might interest shrimp farmers?
Ricardo Arias: Besides the products just mentioned, we also manufacture industry leading equipment, such as UV systems for sterilizing up to 5,000 gallons of water a minute, Arias™ 4000, 6000 and 8000 filters, DSF Series™ drum screen filters, valves and large commercial water pumps both submersible and centrifugal. We also provide shrimp farmers with recirculating aquaculture equipment for their broodstock and maturation centers as well as laboratory equipment used in the hatchery. We even sell bacterial starters for biological filters.
Shrimp News: How about technical support for your products. You have hundreds of products. When a customer has a problem with a product how do you handle it?
Ricardo Arias: We have a technical support line and a technical support group at our call center. The customer can always talk with someone on the phone to resolve the problem immediately or to start the process of getting an answer for the problem. In Latin America, we do a lot of follow up work by email. We have Spanish-speaking people available all of the time, and we correspond in Spanish. We employ people who know the equipment and shrimp farming. For example, Yoshi Hirono, one of the pioneers of shrimp farming in the Western Hemisphere, worked for us for five or six years before he retired recently, and currently, Dr. Darryl Jory, an experienced shrimp farmer and consultant who has worked on or for shrimp farms all over the world, is also part of our team of advisors and consultants. Dr. Jory is also the editor of The Advocate, the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s magazine on responsible aquaculture.
Shrimp News: What services do you provide for your customers?
Ricardo Arias: We can provide system design and engineering and equipment selection by recommending the best products. We have a group of technical people that will analyze problems and recommend a solution. We have a world class engineering group that can design a complete shrimp hatchery for a customer. Usually, if we’re going to design a complete system for a customer, there will be a charge, but if it’s for a product recommendation, we would probably not charge for that.
Information: Ricardo Arias, PENTAIR Aquatic Eco-Systems, 2395 Apopka Boulevard, Apopka, Florida 32703, USA (phone 1-407-992-5556, mobile 1-407-462-6938, fax 1-407-886-4884, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.pentairaes.com).
Source: Ricardo Arias. Interview by Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International. Tegucigalpa, Honduras. August 29, 2014.
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