Fish packing perfected with robotics

At a time when covid-19 has made it difficult for fish processors to find and depend on labour, adapt to shifting market demands, and maintain line flow, automation has become increasingly significant. For operators, the intelligent automation of the RoboBatcher series translates to minimal giveaway, improved food safety, significantly decreased labour costs, and eliminated risk of human error and dependency that may be detrimental to a production line.

Using an exclusive combination of state-of-the-art batching software and innovative robotic technology, the RoboBatcher series packs and styles fish into trays, thermoformer packs, or fixed weight boxes so close to the target that giveaway is minimal. Its exceptional grippers are designed explicitly for gentle product handling, ensuring even the most fragile fish isn’t damaged during packing. The fully automated dispatch process ensures that once a box reaches the set target weight, it is immediately conveyed out for final packing and swiftly replaced by a new box to pack. Depending on your packing needs, the RoboBatcher series comes in three types: RoboBatcher Box, RoboBatcher Thermoformer and RoboBatcher Flex.

 

Transforming the way fish is packed in boxes

With unprecedented accuracy and speed, the RobotBatcher Box automatically styles and packs up to 24 boxes simultaneously, with up to 12 various predefined jobs, into polystyrene and cardboard boxes for retail, catering, and further processors. Icelandic fish processor Vísir installed the RoboBatcher Box in November 2019 and has experienced tremendous results in their fish production. “The system is now such that no human hand touches the product after it enters the robot, and as a consequence, each packed box is much closer to the desired weight,” Ómar Enoksson, Production Manager at Vísir, explains. “The resulting combination of faster production speed and less handling has had a significant impact on product quality.”

 

The RoboBatcher Thermoformer packs up to 120 fish portions, slices and whole fillets per minute into thermoformers

Packing slices, portions and whole fillets

The fully automatic RoboBatcher Thermoformer packs fish portions, slices and whole fillets into thermoformers at an impressively high speed. The intelligent recipe control software combines the individual weights of incoming products to a fixed batch weight, fulfilling orders quickly and efficiently and processing up to 120 pieces per minute. Primex Norway was among the first seafood operators in the world to install a RoboBatcher Thermoformer for whitefish. General Manager Martin Rasmussen said of the positive changes in their production line, “we can control and monitor the giveaway much better. We can also utilize the fish differently because it makes more uniform packing possible, compared to manually.” To learn more about the RoboBatcher Thermoformer, visit our whitefish and salmon product pages.

 

Adaptability is key

The RoboBatcher Flex is a highly flexible system designed for high throughput and accuracy of fixed-weight and catch-weight packing of fish fillets into trays. With the capability to intelligently batch and style various portions of fish products, the RoboBatcher Flex accommodates a wide range of plastic and polystyrene trays. The system handles up to three individual tray jobs simultaneously and provides full traceability for individual portions. “We are not just reducing operational costs and maximizing yield—we are improving the quality of the products and creating a system that will positively impact the operators’ working environment because access to labor is becoming a more significant challenge,” says Global Product Manager of Robotics at Marel, Søren Raahauge. “We are sure that the future lies in automation.”

For more than 30 years, Marel has produced innovative equipment and solutions for the fish processing industry that have improved yield, quality and throughput across the value chain for countless customers. By continuously transforming food processing, we enable our customers to increase yield and throughput, ensure food safety and improve sustainability in food production. Please visit our pages for the whitefish and salmon industries to learn more about our fish processing solutions.

 

www.marel.com

 

Innovations in Food (& Beverage) Processing & Packaging is a quarterly magazine distributed globally both in Print and Digital formats. www.innovationsfood.com.  Twitter: @Innovfoodtech.  Instagram: @innovationsinfoodtechnology.  Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/terry-prior52