Durham College and A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools complete college’s first research project

Pool debris skimmer/extraction device prototype being tested in above-ground pools in Durham Region

September 17, 2010

Oshawa, Ont. – Durham College announced today the completion of it’s first-ever Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII)-funded research project with the creation of a pool debris skimmer/extraction device prototype.

Developed through a research agreement with A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools and support from the college’s Office of Research Services and Innovation and CONII, the device removes surface debris from pools. This eliminates the clogging of the skimmer’s basket which puts stress on the motor of a pool pump since water is constantly being drawn through a congested area.

“Durham College is excited to announce the completion of our first CONII-funded research project,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, director, Office of Research Services and Innovation, Durham College. “The development of this prototype is a strong indication of our commitment to research in support of local businesses. We are thrilled to work with A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools to create a device with great potential for consumers here in Durham Region and far beyond. In addition, this project has enabled our students and faculty to gain valuable research and testing experience while making industry contacts and gaining marketing expertise.”

In late 2009, Bob Bryant, Doug Bryant and Alain Couturier, partners in A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools, approached the college about the creation of a device to eliminate the debris that falls into above-ground pools and accumulates inside the skimmer basket. An initial device was already under development by Couturier, who was looking to create a more robust self-maintained unit to eliminate the need for pool owners to skim their pools and empty their pool skimmer baskets.

Chris Daniel, a professor with the School of Science & Engineering Technology became the faculty lead on this project, working with Rob Braithwaite, a part-time professor with the School of Science and Engineering Technology, Steven Yang, a third-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student and Mitchel Owen, a second-year Mechanical Engineering Technology student.

The result of their research and design efforts, which took place between April and August 2010, is a pool cleaning device that works independent of an operator once it’s turned on.

The device features a conveyor belt with perforations that allow water to pass through it, which travels in ascending and descending paths with the lower portion immersed in water to skim debris floating on the surface. The debris is then carried upward by the belt and separated at its upper end.

Any debris that does not separate from the belt is removed by a brush which contacts the belt as it travels in the descending path. The extractor continually removes debris that would normally move into the skimmer basket through the normal pumping action of the pool pump system.

A solar panel application on the device ensures a steady feed of electricity to power the application and a battery back-up system ensures continuous ability to function in times of limited sunlight. Once turned on, the extractor can work 24 hours a day given the nature of the designed back-up battery power supply.

“A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools is very excited about this project with Durham College that will enable pool owners to reduce their use of both hydro and chemicals, which will ultimately reduce the amount of pool chemicals in our water treatment facilities,” said Doug Bryant, a partner with A.B.D. Solar Power Pool Tools. “The staff and students at Durham College have all put in 110 per cent toward the development of this prototype, which, as a hands-free device, will not only eliminate the need for pool owners to skim their pools and empty their pool skimmer baskets, will also eliminate the cost of paying someone to look after their pool when they are not at home.”

Owen will now test the completed prototype on above-ground pools in a controlled load testing environment to ensure it is market ready and adheres to the Canadian Standards Association for the safety of recreational pool assistive devices.

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, CONII is a consortium of more than 20 Ontario colleges dedicated to helping business and industry stay competitive in the global economy. In addition to providing support to businesses it also offers financial support to colleges, enabling them to provide quicker access to the expertise of Ontario’s top researchers and the most state-of-the-art equipment and research tools available.

Durham College joined CONII in September 2009 with several of the consortium’s research areas tied directly to its current and future programs in areas including alternative and renewable energy, construction, digital media, environmental technologies, health and life sciences and manufacturing and materials.


About Durham College
At Durham College, the student experience comes first, an approach it has taken for more than 40 years. Through a vast range of market-driven programs that are taught by exceptional professors with real-world experience, students develop the skills required to meet the ever-changing needs of employers and the job market. Moving forward, Durham College’s expansion plans will see its Whitby campus grow by 40,000 square feet. Phase 1 of the construction features an energy-neutral living laboratory for new technologies and education to serve the growing needs of the emerging energy sector. Phase 2 of the expansion will create additional classroom and laboratory space to support skilled trades and new program development, and Phase 3 will be a food and hospitality centre designed to house culinary arts programs; a food and agricultural component; a food processing centre and agriculture and science laboratories. Durham College has more than 7,300 full-time students, thousands of part-time students and more than 1,400 apprentices. For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.

Media contact:
Allison Rosnak
Communications, Marketing and External Relations
Durham College
905.721.2000 ext. 2333


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