Visscher Seafood, the salmon processing company based at Urk in the Netherlands, has just installed an new salmon production line, with an investment of €2.5 million.
“Due to this new line the we can now handle three truckloads of salmon a day,” says general manager Tim Brouwer. “It has expanded our capacity by 30 percent.”
Visscher purchased the new production facility to stay ahead of the competition from Eastern Europe.
“Employment costs are increasing in Western Europe, that’s why we’re focusing on automation. Although our workers are very good at filleting, the yield is never the same in the last hours of the shift as in the first ones. Machines like this have the same performance for 24 hours. Now only the final check of every fillet is done manually. This way we can handle more volume and at the same time maintain quality.”
Rise in capacity
The new production line consists of a Unifood Descaler 800, Baader 434 heading machine, Baader 561 filleting machine, Baader 988 trimming robot and Baader 867 pinboning machine.
“Before the installation of the new machines we only had a Baader 581 splitter, the rest of the work was done manually,” explains Brouwer. “With the new line we save on eight workers.”
The choice of Baader was easy, says Brouwer. “It’s an expensive brand, but in our experience Baader machines give the highest yield. So we didn’t have to think twice.”
During the first two weeks the line had some teething problems, but now the whole process runs perfectly, says Brouwer. “In capacity and speed we’ve seen an increase of 30 percent.”
Up until May, Visscher Seafood was producing at the maximum limit of its production capacity.
“We couldn’t take on new customers, and we had many requests from existing customers for frozen salmon. Because of the lack of capacity we couldn’t fulfil them,” explains Brouwer.
With the new line, the company can take on customers and new orders from existing customers.
“For the rest of the year we have space for 20 percent more.”
Next step in production
The company’s expansion plans have further to go, says Brouwer.
“We bought a large piece of land behind our plant, so we have a lot of space for expansion. That will definitely lead to the next step in production and step up the variety of product we offer.”