Til innholdet

The development of technology for the automatic cutting of split clipfish

Background
Valka is specialized in production of automation equipment and software for the fish industry that increase the quality and value of fish products. Among other products Valka has developed a water jet cutting machine that cuts bones from fillets based on x-ray vision. In addition, a vision system is used for weight estimation to cut the fillets into portions. Valka was the first company to develop a commercially feasible cutting machine that can cut pinbones automatically from fish fillets and to deliver such a cutting machine for ships and that development was funded by FHF.

In the fish industry there is a rapid technological development and the clipfish and saltfish industry has seen the importance of participating in the increased automation that is taking place in the white fish industry.​

In this project a new Valka cutting machine will be designed and tested for dynamically cutting of split clipfish and salted fish.

The three main problems to be solved are:
• cut specified patterns with specified throughput of 15 fish/min;
• redesign the weight estimation vision system and potentially use a combination of x-ray technology and 3D scanning to maximize the accuracy; and
• change the design to handle bigger fish than in current design.
Objectives
• To develop a vision system for weight estimation.

• To make a proof of concept with existing cutting machine.
• To design a prototype of the cutting machine.
Expected project impact
The expected value to the industry with a new cutting machine for split clipfish and saltfish is:
maximizing yield of the raw material with accurate weight estimation such that accurate portions can be cut where specs are potentially not only set on the weight but also on length, width and height of the portions;
reduced waste compared to using conventional methods with saws;
stability in portions;
• higher throughput than with current methods;
reduced labor cost;
possibility to add more automation to the rest of the processing line;
by eliminating manual saws in the process, the risk of cutting incidents should be eliminated;
reduced handling of the product;
• the implementation of automation to this process is more likely to have positive than negative environmental impact; and
evaluate the market for bone free products and how such product would be cut.

If the tests of the prototype in production are successful Valka will have the opportunity to modernize the clipfish industry significantly where the producers in Norway have the possibility to deliver many new products and produce them at competitive price. The producers will by this get closer to the market and can potentially focus more on sales to supermarkets as well as distributors.

It will then be primary focus in Valka AS to develop a complete processing line for clipfish and develop the technology further in the years to come. Valka believes the seafood companies are prepared to invest in new technology if the benefit can be proved with the prototype.
Project design and implementation
The project is divided into different phases:

Phase 1: Specification
• Cutting patterns
• Conveyor speeds
• Weight estimation accuracy
• Size of fish
• Mechanical changes of the cutting machine
• Hardware changes of the cutting machine
• Electrical changes of the cutting machine


Phase 2: Design
• Mechanical design
• Electrical design
• Design of vision system
• Design and produce a test unit for an improved vision system


Phase 3: Software development and proof of concept
• Develop software for new weight estimation
• Develop appropriate cutting patterns
• Modify software for the new design of the cutting machine


Milestones
M1: January 2019: Project specification
M2: July 2019: Proof of concept presentation. Demonstration of cutting clipfish.
Dissemination of project results
The results from this project can be published through media and Valka suggest that it will be presented at a conference with Norwegian clipfish producers​ organized ​by FHF.​
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