07/01/16 Updated 13/02/19

Transforming processing and improving efficiency at Three Streams

When Three Streams Smokehouse teamed up with Marel to implement the most advanced trout/salmon processing system in South Africa, the customized system improved efficiency and changed the way Three Streams processes fish.

Started 25 years ago, Three Streams is owned by the Stubbs Family, who have been involved in the fishing industry since the early 1980s. A few years into the start of the business, CEO Gregory Stubbs saw a need to remove pressure on the ocean’s dwindling resources and believed that aquaculture was the way to go.

Today, Three Streams Group is involved in the entire value chain, including research and development, in the farming of marine fin fish. Currently, Three Streams is one of the largest hatchery operations in South Africa and produces over 1.6 million fingerlings a year.

Business needs

When the company first started, each individual fixed-weight portion of fish had to be cut by hand. This led to a lot of wastage, specifically when trimming off excess to guarantee the right weight. Three Streams sought to reduce this wastage as it was at odds with their ethos to minimize their impact on marine resources.

Additionally, there was concern over consumer expectations. Not only do they want freshness, convenience, and perfect presentation, but consistency in portion sizes as well.

Solution

With this in mind, Marel and Three Streams Smokehouse partnered up in 2005 to introduce the most advanced trout/salmon processing system in South Africa. Marel introduced a customized and integrated system that would forever change the way in which Three Streams processed fish.

“For us, it’s about building a relationship that would lead to success,” says Ivan Procter, Marel Regional Sales Manager for Africa and the Middle East. “Through the implementation of our products and solutions, Three Streams achieves an improved and efficient process. It’s a win for both companies.”

Implementation

Three Streams gradually started to upgrade the company’s processing, beginning with the purchase of a few weighing machines. The next big step towards streamlining the process came when Three Streams implemented Marel’s Innova Intelligent Production Control Systems onto the processing floor.

Innova Food Processing Software's solutions are designed to boost profits and overall production performance. The system covers everything from the receipt of raw materials to product dispatch, and provides all the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stage.

With Innova, Three Streams can monitor the whole process in real time. This means being able to make adjustments should any bottlenecks occur and take corrective action to minimize downtime or loss in profitability.

The next major development in restructuring the process happened when Three Streams purchased a Marel I-Cut PortionCutter for high-value sizing into fixed-weight or fixed-length portions.

The I-Cut is able to scan fish fillets, take their density into account, and then cut them into fixed-weight portions at a rapid pace with very minimal wastage. The design also makes it easy to clean, ensuring a high level of hygiene.

The PortionCutter was developed with new generation processing software, programming, flexibility, and a variety of specified cutting patterns to ensure return on investment. It has helped Three Streams achieve considerable savings on labor, wastage, and downtime.

We’re very glad to have partnered with Marel over the last 10 years. Not only has the relationship led to better automation control and sizing of each fixed-weight portion, but it’s also improved the speed with which we’re able to produce products. This has ultimately led to an increase in our profitability., Gregory Stubbs, Three Streams CEO -

About three streams

Three Streams Smokehouse (Pty) Ltd, located in Franschhoek, has been a proud supplier of sustainable salmon, trout, and premium seafood products to all major retailers and the food service industry in Southern Africa for 25 years.

Three Streams Smokehouse is part of the vertically integrated company Three Streams Holdings, which operates across the South African salmonid value chain. The company produces trout from egg to plate and believes in controlling the quality of its product throughout.