The first fish were processed last week at the new processing plant that is the culmination of a four-year process to design and build one of the most sophisticated facilities of its kind anywhere in the world. The new factory is in the northern Icelandic port of Dalvík and has been built by fishing and processing giant Samherji.
‘It went better than anyone dared to hope, as it’s always a challenge to commission new equipment,’ said Gestur Geirsson, head of Samherji’s land-based production, following the first day’s production.
‘It will take time to train the staff who are learning to use new technologies, but we are optimistic that it will work well. Everyone here is on their toes.’
The level of technology incorporated into the 9000 square metre new plant’s systems makes it a world leader in terms of groundfish processing, and this is a significant investment totalling around ISK six billion – around half of which is in technology and software.
Filleting machines are from Vélfag, heading machines have come from Baader Iceland and the production technology has been supplied by Valka. Refrigeration systems are from Frost and Samey supplied the stacking and tub-handling robots. In addition, there is equipment from Skaginn 3X, Marel, Raftákn, Slippurinn and other Icelandic companies.
The equipment and the software that controls processing systems are the results of developmental collaboration between Samherji and the companies that produced these specialised, highly innovative systems. The management of Valka and other companies involved in the new plant are hopeful that the production plant will be useful for marketing this technology, especially on overseas markets. Frequent visitors are expected at the plant in the coming months and years to inspect the equipment.
‘The production equipment in this plant is brand new. The design and implementation of many aspects of the operations are also new. In this building, we are doing something that has never been done before, as we are going further in automation, which aims, among other things, to ease the workload of staff to a greater extent than has been possible in the past,’ said Samherji CEO Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson.
‘The building has been designed to make all the staff facilities as comfortable as possible. In this regard, I want to mention the lighting and soundproofing that was specially designed to increase comfort for the workers. We regard today as a day of celebration for the Icelandic fishing industry and Icelandic industry in general.’