Sheffield 3D printers flying high after bird tracking project
The creator of the world’s smallest and lightest low power GPS tracking technology has commissioned a Sheffield-based 3D printing firm to produce the lightweight plastic housings required to protect its pioneering bird tracking devices from diving pressure and beak damage.
PathTrack, based in Otley, has partnered with Addition Design – a 3D printing company based at South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park – to produce housings for the company’s avian tracking GPS devices to sit in.
Made using a fully traceable industrial grade of nylon, each housing is designed chiefly to protect the GPS components from damage caused by the pressure of oceanic depths in some cases and potential damage from birds with strong beaks in others, enabling researchers to monitor and track a greater number of migrating species across the globe.
Tom Fripp, director at Addition Design, said: “We’re really proud to be working with PathTrack – a fellow Yorkshire company doing some really groundbreaking, important work in the field of avian science.
“The brief was to create plastic housings for the GPS devices to sit in when they’re attached to birds, so we needed to produce something extremely lightweight, waterproof and very hard-wearing.
“The result has been fantastic and it’s wonderful to think our work is playing a part in helping researchers learn more about bird migration around the world.”
PathTrack is renowned for producing the world’s smallest GPS tracking technology, revolutionising avian tracking science by enabling a greater range of bird species to be monitored, thanks to its unique lightweight devices.
Al Matthews, production technician and 3D designer at PathTrack, said: “Partnering with Addition Design on the production of our GPS device housings has already resulted in further innovations and we are enthusiastic about working on many more projects together.
“We’re proud to provide researchers with the world’s smallest GPS tracking technology and we’ve made a real impact in the field of avian tracking science by producing technology that can be applied to a very diverse range of bird species, both on land and in water, from large raptors to penguins, as well as tiny swifts and swallows.
“Because of this, we tasked Addition Design with meeting our very specific range of requirements, both in terms of materials used and, importantly, the weight of the housing.
“We’ve been impressed with their flexibility, communication and, importantly, the product created, which will continue to assist us in helping researchers around the globe track migrating birds, capturing vital data and science for our planet.”
Addition Design offers innovative design solutions to solve complex engineering problems or to help develop customers’ concepts into a prototype and on to manufactured components, all supplied under an ISO9001 quality management system.
Picture: Copyright Richard Phillips, BAS, 2023.