New generation fish processing equipment

Founded in 2003 and based in Kopavogur Iceland, Valka specializes in the development and marketing of equipment and automation solutions for the fish processing industry. Although a relatively young company, Valka has already built a reputation for manufacturing high quality products. The company designs high technology hardware and software aimed at enhancing productivity and increasing profitability.

The new x-ray guided cutting machine from Valka can greatly increase throughput and yield with fewer workers when trimming and portioning white fish fillets.

The company offers high-tech innovative weighing and grading applications as well as advanced trimming and packing lines with easy to use production and order handling software. Valka’s primary objective is to improve the quality and yield of the raw material, resulting in a higher selling price for the processed fish products.

 

Innovative cutting machine improves productivity

Valka has formally released a new x-ray guided cutting machine that can greatly increase throughput and yield with fewer workers when trimming and portioning white fish fillets.
The machine, that has been in development for some time allows fish processors to substantially improve throughput and yield using fewer workers when trimming and portioning fish fillets. A combination of an x-ray and 3D image processing system together with robot controlled water jets locate and cut out pin bones and divide the fillet into portions with exceptionally high accuracy. The first machine has already been built and installed for HB Grandi, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, in Reykjavik.

 

Effective processing of even small fillets

The machine has now been running for few weeks and is being used to cut out pin bones in redfish fillets. The fillets are 80-250 grams and 150-300 cm in length. When running the belt at 415 mm per second the machine can process from 500 kg/hour to over 1,200 kg/hour depending on the size of the fillets. Compared to manual cutting, the capacity is at least double and that too with a single lane. It is also possible to install a machine with a double lane and increase the capacity accordingly.

In a recent interview Torfi Þorsteinsson, HB Grandi's production manager, said. “we use the machine to cut out pin bones from redfish fillets. The fillets are small and until now the majority has been sold with bones as it has been too expensive to manually cut out the pin bone. It requires too much manual labour per kilo and the chances are the yield is not good enough due to the small size. With the new cutting machine we get much more accurate cutting, better yield and the throughput is increased. Furthermore we now have the possibility of marketing bone free redfish fillets that are a much more valuable product. We started about one and a half year ago to prepare the market by offering bone free fillets and the response has been so good that we are optimistic that the machine payback period will be short.“ HB Grandi is now interested in having the machine adapted for other species such as saithe and cod.

 

More models already on the cards

The x-ray cutting machine is exceptionally sensitive, capable of detecting fish bone down to 0.2 mm in size. The cutting proximity and throughput can be tuned to match the objective of yield and boneless fillets. The vision system can furthermore measure the density of the fillet and cut portions to the desired weight, for instance 150 gram loins.

This first version of the cutting machine is best suited to fillets with a relatively straight bone structure, where direct cutting can be applied. Valka however is already working on the next version with the potential of cutting with a degree parallel to the bones.