Fresh salmon, safely packed

The global salmon industry is booming. In 2017, the leading origin countries produced more than two million tons of the popular food fish. To maximize product yield and quality, all phases of the production process –from spawning to packaging –must be perfectly coordinated. This holds true for MOWI, previously Marine Harvest, the world’s largest supplier of farmed Atlantic Salmon. The company's high standards prompted Mosca to test a stainless-steel strapping machine specially developed for the food industry under their real-world conditions. Integrated into a fully-automated production line in Ulvan, Norway, the Mosca EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA has been strapping styrofoam boxes packed with fresh fish since October 2017. And everyone at MOWI Norway, avd Ulvan –from management staff to machine operators –is extremely impressed by the reliable, easy-to-clean strapping machine innovation.

When fresh salmon arrives by boat at the MOWI factory on the Norwegian island of Ulvoya, everything has to happen very quickly. In a fully-automated operation, the fish is packed at a temperature of below 2 °C in styrofoam boxes that are filled with ice and covered with an unfastened lid. The boxes are then double strapped to secure the lid and provide protection with added stability. Afterwards, they are loaded onto pallets for transport and leave the factory on a truck. MOWI has more than 13,000 employees working at locations in 25 countries. In 2016, the company produced 381,000 tons of fresh salmon. Some of this fish is processed in-house, for example, to make breaded or marinated fish fillets.

Food industry specialist

Mosca developed the new EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA specifically for conditions like those in the MOWI plant in Ulvan. Thanks to the high-quality stainless steel used for the springs and bearings, the machine is corrosion resistant. With Mosca's MSCB-1 real-time control, users can integrate the EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA into fully automated lines and operate the machine from a control station.

In late 2017, Mosca was looking for a place to conduct in-depth testing of the newly-developed machine under challenging conditions before its market launch. MOWI Norway's fully automated high-speed production line offered the right opportunity. "Live testing is an important part of Mosca's product development process," explains Christian Grosskopf, Mosca food and beverage industry manager. "We wanted to find out how the EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA operates under demanding onshore production conditions."

Testing under real-worldconditions

MOWI Norway, avd Ulvan quickly agreed to test the machine at its factory in Ulvan. An EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA was integrated into one of the company's three production lines in October 2017. The fast pace of fully automated production combinedwith salty air and pressure washing put the stainless-steel machine to the test. In the meantime, it has mastered more than 1,000,000 strapping cycles and is still in perfect condition.

Close cooperation between Mosca and MOWI Norway is an important aspect of the machine testing in Norway. In weekly telephone calls, the experts on both sides share information about machine performance and possible improvements. This enabled Mosca, for example, to optimize the table surface of the EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA for the specific application. This resulted in less abrasion on the styrofoam boxes containing fresh fish and less contamination of the machine’s body. "Our close contact with MOWI Norway in Ulvan throughout the test phase was extremely helpful," Grosskopf explains. "The phone calls and on-site inspections at the beginning of the testing phase, as well as after six and nine months, gave us a steady stream of feedback and suggestions for improvement – from managers and from the operators who work with the machine every day."

Satisfied customer

The EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA with 650x600mm frame has proven itself in the test phase at MOWI Norway, avd Ulvan. “The strapping machine scores highly on reliability, which is vital for our fast-paced line operations,” states Ulf E. Jensen, Technical Manager at MOWI Norway, avd Ulvan. With up to 52 strapping cycles per minute, the machine fully meets MOWI’s needs. “Our machine operators appreciate the automatic double strap dispenser that enables them to change the strap coil quickly and easily,” says Jensen. When one coil is almost empty, the machine ejects the last piece of strap and automatically switches to the second coil. This eliminates the need for the operator to stop the machine to change coils. A new coil can bereloaded 'on-the-fly' without interrupting the ongoing production process. This helps minimize downtime.

Mosca technology for maximum availability

Mosca’s ultrasonic technology for sealing strap ends has proven itself in Norway. The strap does not need tobe thermally heated to ensure a secure closure. This eliminates plastic or styrofoam residue on the sealing unit, which could limit machine functioning or produce vapors or toxins.

The high quality of the stainless steel in the machine developed specifically for the food industry clearly pays off at MOWI Norway, avd Ulvan. The EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA is easily accessible and can be cleaned with a pressure washer, just like the other machines in the production line. Even various cleaning agents have no effect on the strapping machine's electronic components.

A bright future for the EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA

The Mosca EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA has been available on the market since spring 2018. This stainless-steel strapping machine attracted a lot of attention at the Anuga Foodtec in Cologne as well as at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. "The EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA has great potential, especially in the food production sector, where hygiene and safety are extremely important," Christian Grosskopf explains. "Our comprehensive testing under real-world conditions in Norway proves that the machine is a perfect match for the extreme demands of high-speed production in onshore conditions."

The EVOLUTION SoniXs MS-6-VA has gained a permanent position at MOWI. Immediately after completing the test phase, the salmon company ordered two machines for its production line in Norway.

Mosca's road to the future!
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