Marel hosts global fish expo online

Marel Live Studio Fish Expo

Marel opened its Brussels expo stand to the industry this week in an innovative online format. You can’t bring your customers to an expo at the moment, but it turns out you can bring the expo to your customers.

The live, interactive event brought Marel experts together – both in their Icelandic headquarters studio and online in Denmark and Spain – to present their processing solutions to participants from all over the world, and to discuss current trends in the industry.

The value of connectivity

Gudbjörg Gudmundsdottir, Managing Director Marel Fish, talked about the importance of continuous innovation in the digital age, saying that data has always been the bedrock underpinning Marel solutions. She also emphasized the advantages of Marel’s extensive global sales and service network, especially in times like these: “We’re constantly finding better ways to use technology, but having people on the ground will always be essential.”

Marel experts in salmon and whitefish processing walked participants through the virtual booth layout, pointing out key features of the solutions on display, as they would have done in Brussels.

Magnus Fossheim, business manager for salmon, discussed some of the challenges the salmon industry is now facing. He said that a big part of Marel’s role is to understand exactly how these challenges affect operational and strategic decision-making.

“It’s important that we understand your situation and share our knowhow so you are best placed to deal with the short-term and long-term effects of these trends. We want you to be able to take full advantage of our global presence,” he said.

Fossheim also reiterated the role of data in salmon processing, saying that Marel endeavors to provide, “Reliable data collection and full traceability throughout production in a world with an ever-increasing demand for digitalization.”

Automation is here to stay

Bergur Gudmundsson, business manager for whitefish at Marel, stressed the benefits of automation in reducing the need for manual labor in production and maximizing uptime of equipment.

In walking attendees through the virtual expo stand, he pointed out highlights including FleXicut, a machine that has revolutionized the fish industry in the North Atlantic, pushing up throughput and value. He also showed off Marel’s new robotic box take away system with Robobatcher.

“RoboBatchers are unique because they’re not only pick-and-place robots, but they come with a set of intelligence that selects the right pieces to make a combination or batches with the minimum give away,” Gudmundsson explained. “This is a unique feature in the food industry and brings enormous value to you in productivity and yield. This packing technology will be a vital part in the Industry 4.0 revolution.”

Effective simulations

Haukur Hafsteinsson, XR Specialist at Marel, introduced the virtual layout in the context of how simulation and extended reality have become established tools for Marel in innovation, sales, training and marketing, to name a few. Hafsteinsson and his team brought Marel’s Brussels booth to life for the online expo, and participants could access it themselves afterwards via a Marel application.

The app lets you walk around the booth and look at the solutions, just as you would at a ‘real’ expo. Instead of collecting brochures, you can see machine specifications and key benefits at the click of a button. The virtual demos include simulated raw materials being processed, but you can also watch traditional videos within the app if you’d like to see more.

Virtual dialogue - Real conversation

For many years, the expo in Brussels has been an important meeting place for innovators to interact with the industry, and for customers to ask specialists about their products. So the planners of the Marel Live event included a Q&A session at the end of each event, which proved to be the most lively feature of the online expo.

From big picture questions about the future of fish processing, to explicit questions about specific products, each of the speakers responded to questions, supported by the other panelists: Diego Lages, Sales Director, who joined from home in Spain; Preben Jensen, Product Management Lead, in Denmark; and Ingólfur Gauti Arnarson, Innova Product Manager, in the studio with the presenters in Iceland.

Answering the questions during the Q&A session prompted new conversations, and these will no doubt continue both between colleagues and with the fish processing industry in the weeks and months ahead.

There were several references to Covid-19 during the event, as one would expect, and perhaps the real question now is: given the changing landscape of global events, will online events such as Marel Live now become the norm? It will be exciting to see how this develops here at Marel.

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