A machine that delivers both nobbed fish and fillets

Seac AB, the Swedish company specialised in renovated processing machinery for the fish industry, will launch the FPM-400, a new nobbing and filleting machine, at Seafood Processing Europe in April.

Seac AB will launch the FPM-400, a new nobbing and filleting machine for small Baltic herring and sardines, at Seafood Processing Europe.

Seac AB has its origins in Arenco AB later Norden Seafood Fish Machinery, the former manufacturer of processing machinery from Sweden, and today employs engineers both from Arenco and from VMK, another Swedish company, to continue the Swedish tradition of precision engineering in fish processing. Over the past three years Seac AB has redesigned and developed the former Arenco machines, the CIS-N for nobbing and the SFD-300 for filleting, gradually enabling them to process smaller and smaller fish. Today the nobbing machine can handle fish down to about 80/100 fish per kilo, while the filleting machine processes fish down to 55/60 fish per kilo and tests are continuing to bring that also down to 100 fish per kilo.

The CIS-N was a popular machine racking up sales of over 2,500 units around the world in the two decades up to 1980. As a result, the new FPM-400 has a lot of experience and knowhow built into it. The SFD-300 was developed in the 60s and is still being used by companies around the Baltic who use it to process sprat and Baltic herring, as well as in the Mediterranean region where it is used for sardines and similar fish. Seac’s new FPM-400 is based on these two machines, but also draws on other equipment for important components. The transfer unit for example originates from the CIS/CIF, also made by Arenco, and in its time popular in North America.

The FPM-400 is unique in that it delivers both nobbed fish and fillets. With an optional attachment the machine can also give belly-cleaned fish. The first part of the FPM-400, the Seac FPM-200, uses a mechanical gutting device rather than a vacuum unit. This not only cuts the cost of the machine, but also gives a yield that is 15-18 percent higher in the end product than a vacuum unit with two knives. In other words it is as close as one can get to manual filleting. Tests also show that the mechanical device is a much better solution for different fish species with soft bodies than an ordinary vacuum unit. However, by extending the FPM-200 it is possible to equip it with a vacuum unit resulting in a single machine with two nobbing devices. This variation can profitably be used by companies that work only with defrosted fish as it gives high yields as well as high accuracy.

The FPM-400 is designed for smaller fish and the machine has been installed in Latvia where it is processing Baltic herring (25-55 fish/kilo) at a speed of 300 fish/min. In 2012 three more machines are expected to be installed in Latvia and Croatia for small Baltic herring and sardines. Seac AB is cooperating with Peruza, a Latvian company, to develop further refinements for the machine such as an automatic feeder for small fish. This will reduce the number of operators needed to feed the machine and has already reached the trial stage. The feeder is expected to be ready for the market in 2012.