Equipped with high-resolution X-ray and water-jet cutters, Marel’s FleXicut incorporates two critical processing steps in one machine: precisely locating the pinbones and then cutting the fillet to remove them.
FleXicut can also divide the loin, cut the belly flap or tail, or portion the fish to customer specifications, skin-on or skin-off.
FleXicut is easily integrated into most existing factory layouts and is the key element of the next generation of processing systems that will transform the whole processing floor.
The high level of technology and automation that this development brings us transforms the very nature of fish processing., Gudbjörg Heida Gudmundsdóttir, Project Manager at Marel -
The precision of the machine’s cuts returns on average a greater yield than is possible with manual trimming, as well as ensuring uniformity in the cut and the size of pieces.
The loin is the most valuable part of the fillet and so it’s crucial for processors to make the most use of it, cutting as close to the bone frame as possible.
There are many ways to use the fillet, and FleXicut can make an intelligent decision on how to divide the fillet, taking into account the weight and shape of the fish being processed at the time, as well as customer parameters on yield.
The variety in the range of possible cuts is one of the biggest benefits of the machine, as it helps processors maximize the value of the raw material and adjust cutting to meet orders each day, regardless of whether fillets are large or small.
“FleXicut utilizes fillets of all sizes very well,” says Gudmundsdóttir, “and when we’re talking about facilities that process dozens of tons per day, this quickly adds up to significant gains in yield, which translates into significant profits for the processor.”
An even greater variety of products is made possible as FleXicut can be used for skin-on fillets. This opens up the prospect of producing skin-on products such as skin-on loin and skin-on smart fillets.
The FleXicut’s X-ray can detect pinbones that might otherwise slip through manual trimming, significantly decreasing the bone ratio in the fillet.
As Gudmundsdóttir explains, “Producing boneless fillets is one of our goals as we continue to develop the whitefish systems in coming years.”
The FleXicut is the heart of the next generation of whitefish processing and the development of the whole system is driven by the technology of the water-jet cutter.
Marel first introduced FleXicut early in 2014 and has come a long way towards developing the new generation processing flowlines, which are expected to be released by the end of this year.
“FleXicut runs with Innova, and even more opportunities are expected to open up as we further develop the software for this new line – such as full traceability through the system, and integrated stock and order management,” says Gudmundsdóttir.
Marel has already developed a product distribution system located after the FleXicut. These developments have been made possible thanks largely to Marel’s close partnerships with fish processors.
“We regard this as a journey into the future with our customers,” says Gudmundsdóttir. “It’s very important for us to be able to work so closely with the fish industry in further developing the technology that already enables higher yield, a greater variety in end-products, and better quality.”
Strong partnerships with our customers are the bedrock of this new generation of whitefish processing equipment.
Marel has a big team working on this project that has been following FleXicut through development and implementation, first in Iceland and Norway, and will continue to do so as the machine is installed in nearby whitefish markets such as Denmark, the UK and Canada, and then more widely.