This is the 18th time Marel hosts its Salmon ShowHow, demonstrating the latest in salmon processing technology and featuring guest speakers and Marel specialist presentations.
Visitors came from all corners of the globe, with high numbers in particular from Norway, Sweden and Chile. In his welcome speech, Sigurdur Ólason, EVP Marel Fish, emphasized the value of bringing so many salmon processing experts together and urged people to take the opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge. “It’s by working together that we’re transforming the nature of salmon processing,” he said.
In the morning, Dag Sletmo, Senior Vice President at DNB Seafood, looked at some of the ways digitalization is driving the salmon industry forward. He talked about how a lot of the latest advances have been a long time in the making, but it’s only now that data is cheap enough, and technology, in general, is fast enough, that the industry can really make full use of them.
Dag also emphasized that now is the right time for salmon processors to jump on the Industry 4.0 train: “There will be winners and losers in salmon during this digitalization phase over the next decade. There is a danger of waiting too long – of thinking it’s safe to wait and see what happens for other salmon processors before jumping aboard.”
In the afternoon, Arturo Clément, Chairman of the Chilean Salmon Association, presented insights into how Chilean salmon producers are using the latest advances to face challenges and secure their competitive position.
He too emphasized the value of acting now to make full use of the technologies available: “We have a lot of data in salmon but we’re not using it.”
The Salmon ShowHow is a great setting to demonstrate new concepts as well as proven solutions, and today Marel released three products for sale: the PaceInfeeder, Quality Scanner and FleXicut Salmon pinbone removal and portioning.
“All three of the new releases are examples of how we make salmon processing more intelligent – and therefore more efficient, more sustainable, more profitable,” says Sigurdur Ólason, EVP Marel Fish.
“With the PaceInfeeder, we’re improving the infeed system for our industry-leading filleting machine, to improve quality and reduce labor costs,” he says.
“With the Quality Scanner, we’re making it possible to sort fillets downstream by scanning fillets after trimming or skinning, and this means you can better control the quality and size of each fillet. The three applications of this product that we’re demonstrating today have given salmon processors a taste of the opportunities this creates, such as in intelligent portioning to maximize higher-value products.”
The FleXicut system has already revolutionized whitefish processing. “In salmon,” Sigurdur explains, “FleXicut takes the pinbones out of pre-rigor salmon to optimize utilization and create high-value, bone-free product. Plus the automation of the process raises quality and reduces labor costs.”
Marel demonstrated many other highly advanced solutions during the day, including several new applications of robotics. Robot technology in fish processing is helping the industry solve problems such as the ergonomic challenges of heavy manual lifting and is speeding up processing when it comes to simple, repetitive tasks that have traditionally been handled manually.
The live demonstrations of equipment at the Salmon ShowHow are certainly one of the event’s drawcards, but the software that keeps everything running smoothly and improves decision-making was also prominent at the event. As well as the Innova office in the demo area, there is now an Innova lab on the first floor too, where guests experience some of the advantages the software has to offer.
“Data is increasingly valuable in today’s hi-tech processing environment and connectivity is now a linchpin in salmon processing facilities,” says Ingólfur Gauti Arnarson, Innova Product Manager. Designed to improve productivity and shorten cycle time, Innova Food Processing Software is an integral part of the processing equipment and solutions featured at the event.
The event wrapped up with a panel discussion about the economic benefits of smarter processing. Moderator Pal Korneliussen asked Dag Sletmo, Arturo Clément, Sigurdur Ólason and Thórarinn Ólafsson (Service Director, Marel Fish) about how new technologies in salmon processing boost profits.
The discussion revolved around how digital processing is changing the economic direction of salmon processing. In particular, the panelists kept returning to the way production control increasingly comes down to data control. From the ability to respond to fluctuations in consumer demand, such as the increasing demands for convenience products, to predictive maintenance that’s only possible with data coming directly from the equipment itself.
The conclusion? As systems get progressively more complex, Marel and their customers have the task of making sure they are ready not just to handle that complexity, but to master it. Industry 4.0 enables the industry to move from reactive to proactive. Your ability to predict has a direct correlation to your potential to make a profit.