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Marel has launched FleXicut, a trimming robot for high precision bone detection and removal. The bones in whitefish are notoriously difficult to locate and remove, and the process traditionally requires a lot of skilled labor. The machine automates locating and removing bones in whitefish and not only reduces the need for skilled labor, but also improves product handling and yields.

FleXicut incorporates two processing steps in one machine; locating the pinbones precisely and cutting/trimming to remove the bones. The equipment consists of high resolution X-ray detection, image control, and a water-jet cutting mechanism for removing pinbones.

By using water-jets for the bone removal process, which is more flexible than blade cutting, the FleXicut can perform a variety of cutting patterns, and the angle cutting option allows it to follow the curved lines of the bone frame very closely, thereby further reducing pinbone material. This results in significant yield gains in the loin.

Another feature of Marel’s FleXicut is that the X-ray scanning and water-jet cutting is performed on the same belt. This unique feature means that there is no risk of movement between the bone-detection and cutting processes. It also has a built-in blade cutter, to optionally cut the tail piece. 

“Determining the orientation of the bones is critical to improving the yield,” Kristjan Hallvardsson, director of Product Development explains. Cutting out less flesh on the V-cut will leave more on the loin. “At present, 6 to 10 percent of the fillet is removed manually by the V-cut to take out the pinbones. The goal is to achieve as much as 2 to 4 percent improvement in yield, which represents significant added value for our customers.”

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