Akranes, Iceland-based seafood equipment manufacturer Skaginn 3X has debuted a new fish transfer tool flexible enough to work with most seafood.
The ValuePump “is a new tool in the toolbox for the industry,” Skaginn 3X CEO Ingólfur Árnason told SeafoodSource on the floor of the 2019 Seafood Expo Global.
“It can be used in so many different ways,” he said. “It’s easy to integrate it into a processing line to improve the flow of production.”
The ValuePump, which the company claims can be used for many types, shapes, and sizes of seafood – including shrimp, pelagic fish, whole round fish, fillets, portions, roe, liver, or heads and frames. The pump conveys the product through liquid – either water or more frequently a brined, salted sea water solution – contained in a closed, low-pressure pipe system.
While the product is just hitting the market now, select customers in Iceland and the Faroe Islands has done trials over the past 12 months. The system has already been successfully used for whole fish in aquaculture systems, cold-water shrimp in onshore processing systems, and liver and roe in onboard processing systems, according to the company.
“We have been working on this product for several years, step by step, and just in the last 12 months have we been starting to push really hard to get it out, since we think there has always been a need for this type of equipment but it wasn’t out there until now,” Árnason said.
The ValuePump system can clean, cool, freeze, or cook product to very exact specifications, and it improves the performance of other machines, with the end result being higher product quality, Árnason said.
“Freezers, filleting machines, the bleeding process – they are all improved by the ValuePump,” Árnason said. “The only barrier now is to think of new applications.”
One example recently explored by the company is its use in processing blue whiting, which is “more or less impossible” to fillet because of the fish’s softness, Árnason said.
“It’s amazing as it can now be done by cooling, stiffening, and stretching the fish,” he said. “With this as a model, we can now easily start focusing on hake, hoki, and other species that are difficult to fillet.”
The ValuePump also serves to optimize existing processes, the company said in its marketing materials for the product. For example, the ValuePump can bleed and chill farmed salmon in under 15 minutes a process that normally takes between 45 and 60 minutes, according to the company.
“Of course, a quicker bleeding and chilling process means that the fish can reach this vital stage before rigor mortis sets in,” it said. “Consequently, flesh integrity is better maintained, resulting in superior-quality fillets.”
Aside from the ValuePump, Árnason said the company’s other recent focuses have been expanding into new markets and moving further in the poultry industry.
He said he sees especially ripe opportunities for expansion in Russia and the U.S.A, where large-scale fleet modernization efforts are underway and where new processing plants are being built and older ones upgraded.