Automatic Pin Bone Removal Technology Sparks Interest
September 1, 2017
Technology that detects the bones in filleted fish and suggests an optimal cut based on processors' pre-defined specifications is already installed in several European countries and is now drawing more interest in the United States.
A spokeswoman for Marel, in Reykjavik, Iceland, said July 18 that Alaskan and Seattle processors are looking into the benefits of such systems for their operations both onshore and offshore. At least one FleXicut system designed by Marel was installed in the US east coast earlier this year, said Stella Bjorg Kristinsdottir, marketing manager for the Icelandic firm.
Pin bones are located at the most valuable part of the fillet and these bones are usually removed from the fillet by manual cutting, a labor intensive process that requires skill that takes time and practice to develop. It is also critical that the cutting, whether manual or automatic, does not leave bone or bone fragments in the fillet, and that the amount of high value raw material cut away with the pinbone removal is minimal, she said.
The FleXicut combines waterjet cutters and traditional cutting blades to remove the pinbone and portion the fillet in an optimal way. Along with labor reduction, the FleXicut system also improves productivity, raw material utilization, and uniformity of end product, while reducing product handling, which has an impact on quality. "We believe that processors that install an integrated FleXicut system are taking an important step into the future and will gain a competitive edge in today's challenging business environment," she said. "We also know that the combination of shorter production time and less manual product handling will result in higher quality end product with less bones, that also will be appreciated by the end consumer."
The technology stems from APRICOT (automated pinbone removal in cod and whitefish) which was the working name of a collaborative project initiated several years ago by Nordic Innovation, Marel, Norway seafood, Faroe Origin and Sintef.