The National Aquiculture Group (NAQUA)'s facility was built near the coast of the Red Sea in 2000 and has been equipped with Marel equipment and software from the start.
NAQUA’s fully integrated marine farm covers approximately 250 km2 and produces a range of species including Red Sea barramundi, shrimp, sea algae and sea cucumber. The group’s annual processing capacity is around 100,000 tons, with products exported around the globe.
In 2011, NAQUA invested in new equipment and implemented Innova Food Processing Software throughout all processes. Now the processor is shifting up a gear and improving processes again, this time aiming to increase its throughput by as much as 100%.
To make this giant leap in throughput possible, NAQUA has invested in new Marel processing and packing lines, as well as an Innova paperless Quality Control (QC) system.
The QC system is fully integrated with the plant’s automated packing lines, to ensure full traceability of products through to packing, and connects quality checks with the traceability system.
As a vertically integrated company, NAQUA values connectivity on many levels, with product quality, traceability and biosecurity among its chief concerns.
Marel recognizes these concerns and has reviewed all production processes with NAQUA management to make sure they are reliable and that traceability is 100%.
“When producing for the most demanding market in the world, only the best will do,” says Cameron Maclean, Director – Shared Services at NAQUA, in reference to Innova Food Processing Software and Marel’s processing solutions.
Innova’s traceability system is the most advanced on the market and includes automatic, real-time monitoring of each step of the production system.
The system enables full traceability of the raw material throughout the value chain, all the way through to checking that products are correctly labeled, and swiftly isolates any problem to minimize the size and cost of recalls.
Innova works by recording variants in the production and issuing warnings if any variations are greater than a predefined level. The Innova system goes beyond fulfilling all NAQUA’s traceability and quality requirements. Every single box produced is traced through the entire packing process, from weighing to boxing to palletizing.
Innova Labeling makes it easy to print labels that include all traceability information for every processing step, and a copy of every label is kept in the Innova database for reviewing any label, whether it was printed for a pack, box or pallet.
When a product has been palletized, Innova checks to make sure that all quality control information for the pallet is complete. Only once this has been confirmed can the pallet be selected for shipping. If not, the pallet is marked as “quality check” and will only be released with a digital signature from the quality manager.
Innova monitors yield and throughput in real time for every production step, which gives managers the ability to quickly react as soon as any issue arises.
By simply using Innova dashboards to monitor throughput and assess the reasons for any fluctuations, managers at NAQUA have already succeeded in raising throughput from 130 tons per day up to 200 tons per day, without any further investment in the plant.
With the improvements that are currently underway, the goal now is to reach 400 tons a day, and it’s clear that Innova Food Processing Software plays one of the biggest roles in ensuring that this target is reached.