Our 17 years of experience and success in the aquarium renovation sector have led to the development of two types of technology.

The need for renovation

For a little over twenty years, large public aquariums have used PMMA (or Plexiglas) for their windows.

This material has many advantages over glass: amongst other things, it is transparent, thermoplastic and strong.

However, this material does come with certain issues: PMMA is prone to scratching and becomes opaque; it also abrades much more quickly and easily than glass. Over time, the material deteriorates due to tank maintenance, routine cleaning and interaction with animals, as well as due to the micro erosion caused by microorganisms found in seawater.

Wear and tear to the panel is inevitable.  Apart from the altered appearance of the panel, micro-algae attach to the various indentations on the panel surface, reducing transparency and therefore the visibility of the animals. The tendency of algae to attach to rough areas means that routine cleaning becomes more difficult.

The dry surfaces on the visitor side are also subject to degradation, scratches, etc.

A conventional process developed by AbyssNaut

In order to fix this problem and provide a way to restore these extremely expensive panels, in 2002, our company developed a process that involves the use of a custom made machine. The machine, which is designed and manufactured by AbyssNaut, uses mechanical sanding and optical polishing techniques. This process makes it possible to treat PMMA without emptying the (sometimes large) volume of water contained in tanks that are often inhabited by a fragile and difficult to preserve biotope.

A team of at least two divers is needed to carry out this work:

  • A “machine operator” who slowly guides the machine across the panel.
  • A “machine safety assistant” who is in charge of cleaning products, manoeuvring cables and the areas of application.

Our company also offers renovation services for dry, visitor side surfaces.

A High performance automated process

A hybrid and liquid process developed by AbyssNaut

In order to improve the quality of the services we offer, since 2015 we have worked to develop a patented, completely innovative technology that reduces the need for divers. Our new machines make it possible to restore PMMA panels with a range of machine types and using largely non-invasive means. The robot can be controlled from the exterior without the use of a diver.

These machines make it possible to maintain underwater PMMA efficiently with improved optic quality while leaving the flora and fauna inside tanks undisturbed.

Simultaneously using various models of “machine” significantly increases the surface area that can be treated during routine cleaning.
A range of robots will be available to suit different types of tank and surface:

  • A standard size “vertical plane window” model (for windows between 5 to 40 m2)
  • An XL size “giant vertical plane window” model (for windows above 40 m2)
  • A standard and an XL size “curved or sloping window” model
  • A standard and XL sized “tunnel” model
  • A “small volume” ultra compact model (for windows up to 5 m2)

For the background story to the R&D of the “PolixNaut” design, please see the insert below.