Marel hosted the first tilapia processing ShowHow in Latin America where the FilleXia was the star of the show.
First tilapia ShowHow in Latin America
From May 3rd to 5th, Marel hosted the first tilapia dedicated ShowHow at the Progress Point Demonstration and Training Center in Campinas, Brazil. The event gathered some of the largest fish processing companies in the country, authorities from the sector and specialists from across Latin America and Europe to demonstrate our innovation in tilapia processing. Equipment and software that enhance tilapia processing and ensure sector competitiveness were introduced during several VIP sessions.
In the closing, Regional Director at Marel in Latin America, Clausius Nobrega, pointed out the importance of the event for all of Latin America. "Just as Marel transformed poultry and meat processing in Brazil and salmon processing in Chile, the company will have the same impact on innovation with tilapia," he emphasized.
Tilapia processing line
Participants followed the production process in a tilapia processing line in the VIP sessions, specially assembled for the event. The demonstrations were guided by sales managers Eduardo Weschenfelder and Paulo Guth, and specialists Marcel Sudatti, Orlando Falcon, Luciano Jardin, Sebástian Moraga, and Tiago Azevedo.
Tilapia began in the Compact Grader, where they were weighed and graded. As one of Marel’s key products, the Compact Grader is a complete solution for automated grading that allows simple batching with fixed or variable weight and has more than 50 grading programs, ensuring product versatility and reducing waste.
The FilleXia, our latest release, then filleted the fish. Exclusively developed for the Brazilian market, the FilleXia guarantees high-quality automatic filleting, processing up to 40 fish per minute. It ensures a production committed to food safety, with low cost and maximum yield. The skin was removed by the Skinner OTM-50, which provides maximum fillet yield.
Next, the StreamLine intelligent cutting and trimming line was presented. It improves logistics and handling of the fish along the production line and allows real-time monitoring of each workstation for yield, productivity and quality.
Our attention to food quality and safety was demonstrated with the SensorX. This advanced X-ray inspection technology accurately scans cuts and trims to detect, besides the pinbone, hard contaminants such as metal and glass.
The finishing process was carried out with the SmartLine grader, which creates intelligent batches to obtain the greatest yield of the raw material and ensures minimum overweight. The equipment is now produced in Brazil, making it more accessible to processors, with shorter and more flexible delivery times and with the option of financing via BNDES Finame.
The products were fed into the Target Batcher, an efficient and compact solution for packing processes. It creates accurate fixed-weight batches, facilitates batching and reduces the need for rework.
At the end of the demonstration, the I-Cut 22 was introduced—a portion cutter that combines high accuracy, throughput, and reliability. It also cuts boneless and defrosted fish products into fixed-weight and/or uniform dimensions.
With constant investment in innovation, we prioritize equipment connectivity with the food processing software Innova, which improves the management and control of the production process. Collecting and using relevant data allows companies to monitor all stages and gain a competitive advantage.
Companies that pay attention to the needs of processing facilities and invest in technology, such as Marel, have a leading role in the Brazilian fish sector to grow and gain competitiveness in the domestic and foreign markets. The president of Peixe BR (Brazilian Fisheries Association), Francisco Medeiros, points out that, currently, in the processing facilities, Marel and other companies in the sector are constantly receiving requests from entrepreneurs for process improvement and for equipment that can provide cost reduction and production increase.
And Marel has been promptly meeting this demand with technologies like the FilleXia. Equipment like this is considered strategic for the sector, especially in the marketing of tilapia, which represents more than 60% of the Brazilian fish production. Currently, Brazil is the fourth-largest producer of tilapia in the world. Last year, it produced 534,005 tons of tilapia, an increase of 9.8% over the previous year. By 2030, the forecasting is to expand production to 1.2 million tons for domestic and foreign consumption.
"Tilapia is a commodity traded in 140 countries,and everyone knows the price. I need to have my cost adequate to the international price to offer the product in the domestic and foreign market, and technological tools are our great ally for this competitiveness", declares Medeiros. The president of the IFC (International Fish Congress & Fish Expo Brazil) and former Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Altemir Gregolin, informs that the great challenge of the Brazilian tilapia industry is competitiveness. The species has had the fastest growth in Brazilian aquaculture in the last 10 years. It registered a 46% increase in production in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2021. "And the industry is the anchor of this whole process," he says.
He points out Marel's leadership in developing this market in Brazil and the decisive role we play for it to continue growing, being competitive and occupying more space in the international market. "Marel is the leading company offering the most advanced technologies for automating the entire process," he declares.
Partner of the Brazilian industry in expansion
As partners of Marel, Brazilian companies that process tilapia are pioneers in purchasing the FilleXia filleting machine. Copacol was one of them and has been operating the equipment, in the adjustment stage, since April. "We have a very positive expectation regarding productivity and quality; moreover, other companies that purchased the equipment have already reported excellent results," says Vanessa Ribeiro, industrial process analyst at Copacol.
The investment in FilleXia is part of the expansion project in the Nova Aurora and Toledo (Paraná) facilities, which is gaining space in the domestic and foreign markets, and investing in increasing production.
Copacol relies on Marel equipment for fish grading and is interested, in the future, in automating other stages of processing to improve productivity, ergonomics and avoid setbacks with labor turnover.
The Ambar Amaral Group, owner of the Brazilian Fish brand, acquired the equipment as part of a bold expansion project. "We are going all-in on this technology, emerging from a 35 tons/day plant to a 100 tons/day plant, and we want to triple the volume in the next 24 months," says Antonio Ramon do Amaral Neto, owner of the Ambar Amarel Group. "For us, it is a privilege to be one of the pioneers in this innovation, which is aligned with one of the company's seven values, which is precisely to innovate. It is very rewarding to be part of this moment of Marel in the Brazilian fishing industry", he says.
C. Vale, a partner of many years, invested in Marel technologies to increase production. "Ever since we brought the FilleXia prototype inside C. Vale and began testing, there was no doubt that the equipment would work. We are still learning with the 0-series equipment, working to improve our process each day and provide the information to Marel that can help us improve equipment efficiency," says Emerson José Colle, industrial manager at C. Vale. After participating in the Tilapia ShowHow, company representatives expect new technology investment possibilities.
The BTJ Group also relied on Marel to modernize its production line. "We started conversations with Marel about projects and plans, always looking ahead. Five months ago, we commissioned the line. We believe it is the right partner to promote a sector that is just at the beginning, specifically in our case, the tilapia sector," says Felipe Franco, owner of the BTJ Group.
Marelis the leading global provider of advanced equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries. The company's brands – Marel, Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing – are among the most respected in the industry and together, they offer the convenience of a single source to meet its customers’ every need.
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