To meet growing customer demands while boosting profitability, whitefish processors, including those that process Atlantic cod, are always looking for ways to bring more productivity and efficiency to the production line.
Thanks to two new cutting-edge machines from Valka, makers of progressive whitefish and salmon processing solutions headquartered in Iceland, achieving those goals is suddenly much easier.
Together, the High-Speed Portion Grader and the Aligner Packing Robot promise to bring more speed, efficiency, and quality to the production process—all while requiring less manor labor and eliminating waste.
Automatic in-feed and unparalleled throughput
The High-Speed Portion Grader is a multi-lane grader that offers industry-leading per-square-meter throughput, ensuring fillet producers can process a lot of fish quickly. The grader can be configured to have as many as four lanes of traffic flowing simultaneously, each of which is capable of processing its own assigned product type, which can be sorted by weight and dimensions.
This functionality is made possible thanks to a combination of high-end technological solutions, including:
- Automatic in-feed with sensors and accelerator conveyors that adjust the distance and steer portions to the correct lanes
- Vision cameras that accurately sort portions by size
- Dynamic in-weighing
- Packing to bulk or tubs to support your product strategy
- A gentle drop gate that ensures portions flow gently into a buffer bin
Customizable by design, the High-Speed Portion Grader can be assembled with a fully automatic in-feed system or a traditional circular in-feed. Instead of traditional pneumatic arms, the grader is equipped with a gentle dropping mechanism at each gate to ensure products flow smoothly into the buffer.
The grader can also be configured to pack to bulk packaging or to smaller boxes and attached takeaway conveyors.
Eliminating overpacking with robots
The Aligner Packing Robot is a machine that automates grading, batching, and packing and automatically packs individually quick-frozen (IQF) fillets or portions according to the most demanding packing requirements.
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Using advanced robots that apply a game theory algorithm to each fillet, the system is able to continuously optimize the best solution for the task at hand based on actual fillet weights, thereby reducing overpack considerably and resulting in nearly no giveaway. That’s compared to more traditional systems that make decisions based on statistical guesses which simply can’t be as precise.
Beyond that, each grader is equipped with a carousel system featuring built-in cars that pick up and transport the product, thereby reducing waste even further. Finally, an integrated Cartesian robot then gently slides the portion for delivery directly above the final packaging, and the product is ready to ship.
Other highlights of the robot include:
- Ability to handle pieces from 80 to 800 mm in length
- Capacity to process up to 80 pieces of fish per minute
- Ability to grade based on weight, length, or quality
Add it all up, and it’s the easiest way to ensure premium product quality while keeping giveaway to an absolute minimum.
Valka’s technology is already used by fish processors across the United States, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
Early adopters of the new Aligner Packing Robot include Icelandic compatriot FISK Seafood. When its €600,000 ($646,000) investment made headlines back in April, production manager Asmundur Baldvinsson cited batching precision as the most significant benefit of the system.
“I’m quite confident that we will achieve a short payback time,” he said. “The most significant benefit is realized with batching precision; however, the level of automation will also enable direct gains with labor costs.”
Watch this video to learn more about Valka’s advanced technology and how it can help you produce higher-quality fillets, improve efficiency and reduce costs. Or, you can contact the company’s sales team directly via email.