Ferrite seeks to replace water baths with microwave technology in seafood processing

When it comes to seafood processing and seafood processing technologies used to thaw frozen product, water baths have long been the industry's popular choice. But with such systems, astronomical water bills are soon to follow, as most seafood processors are well aware.

This is a story the team at New Hampshire, U.S.A.-based Ferrite Microwave Technologies LLC have heard before: “At [Seafood Expo North American/Seafood Processing North America] last year, we heard many tales of astronomical water bills,” said Fraser Tibbetts, product marketing manager for Ferrite, to SeafoodSource.

Ferrite seeks to offer seafood processors another way. The company’s industrial microwave solutions can reap seafood processors savings across a myriad of levels, starting at that daunting water bill, according to Tibbetts. “There’s water savings. There’s cleanliness – you’re not constantly bathing fresh product in a bath of recently tempered product. And, to a lesser degree, speed – a water bath doesn’t take that much time, but a microwave is quicker.” 

According to Stephen M. King, director of sales for Ferrite, the company can match any capacity requested by processors.

“We can build systems that can thaw up to eight tons an hour or more,” King said. However, most seafood clients that utilize Ferrite’s product don’t require systems that robust. No matter the size, all microwave technologies offered by Ferritte are safe, said King, and easy to clean.

It’s specific cuts, such as loins, that temper best with microwave technology, said Tibbetts. The company cautions against using full fish in industrial microwaves, as such items lack consistency across units with respect to size, and full fish are often rife with dense bone matter.

“Loins work better than full fish. Loins are perfect because they’re pretty consistent, so they heat at the same pace. And it’s a consistency thing – microwaves affect every new material slightly differently,” said Tibbetts. “The high water content of most fish makes them a good candidate for tempering because microwaves are attracted to the water and heats up the surrounding protein, and everything else including cartilage and bone,” he added. "We’re selling control and consistency, and if you have an inconsistent product, you’re going to have an inconsistent output.”

The company understands that, especially with the seafood industry, the variety of product is vast and thus, timing for tempering can differ significantly.

To address that issue, Ferrite invites interested parties to bring boxes of their seafood to its headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire to test out the microwaves to see if they’re a good fit for processing needs.


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