March 30, 2020
Customer Spotlight:

A Smart Move for Eskja

Icelandic company Eskja sets the bar high in pelagic processing advancements with its highly automated, state-of-the-art, turnkey solution from Skaginn 3X.

The Icelandic company sets the bar high in pelagic processing advancements with its highly automated, state-of-the-art, turnkey solution from Skaginn 3X.

With seafood value chains facing unprecedented consumer demand for delicious and nutritious products, many savvy processors are seeking opportunities to ramp up their productivity. As reported in Fiskifréttir, the introduction of new equipment and technologies are central to most of the latest endeavors – providing the necessary platforms to enhance the product mix, obtain higher yields, and to enable factories to respond more quickly to tighter quality and food safety requirements.

By actively sourcing technologies that have collectively served up a state-of-the-art, highly automated processing plant, Icelandic pelagic company Eskja has been able to elevate its production levels rapidly and further differentiate itself in the marketplace.

Automated size grader

Founded in Eskifjörður in 1944, Eskja operates four pelagic vessels and one processing ship. It also holds close to 9% of the total Icelandic pelagic quota. Historically, almost all of the company’s fish processing activities were conducted at sea. However, the construction of its new pelagic plant in 2016, facilitated by the company’s ongoing investment strategy, has enabled it to change up its operations.

More than three years on, this new facility – conveniently located alongside Eskja’s fishmeal and fish oil plant – is processing and freezing as much fish in a single day as its hardworking vessels used to take a week to achieve. Moreover, an increased output capacity of some 750 tonnes per day has transformed the business because pelagic species such as herring and mackerel are highly migratory and are often in great abundance in Icelandic waters for just a few months of the year. 

Automatic contact freezers in use at Eskja.

Adding Value and Talent

To incorporate the latest, most sophisticated and appropriate technology into its new plant, Eskja called on the expertise of Skaginn 3X.

Together, utilizing robotics, analytics software, and other Industry 4.0 advancements, a smarter factory environment was created. 

In taking over the repetitive tasks previously fulfilled by humans, sophisticated automated systems have contributed to significantly increased yields, efficiency and quality. At the same time, the processing time has been reduced, which in turn offers multiple benefits to supply chains, including extending shelf-life and maintaining nutritional properties. It also supports food safety, reduces waste and energy, and increases the overall economic value of the products.

Furthermore, in shifting away from traditional fish processing (a sector that’s typified by an aging and shrinking workforce) to smarter processing and data driven environments, Eskja has been able to attract and retain talent. Many of the people now employed at its new plant are engaged in important supervisory and decision-making tasks. The factory also has the support of technicians from Skaginn 3X.

In light of the plant’s success, it often hosts visits from processing firms from far and wide that are looking to upgrade their operations through automated technologies. Indeed, Skaginn 3X has already helped set up similarly advanced factories in Russia and Japan. Meanwhile, using its own experiences, Eskja has been able to advise fellow processors on ways in which they could fine tune their operations.

While there are significant differences in the utilization of fish and processing methods among regions and countries, the growing consensus is that the smarter the factory, the more adept it is at coping with the rising demand for seafood products. And as Eskja has demonstrated, it’s also a viable means through which the processing sector can capitalize on new opportunities while also conducting business in ways that are more sustainable, and more resource and energy efficient.

For more information on the solution used at Eskja visit the page on Skaginn 3X turnkey solutions for onshore pelagic processing.

Contact information:

Ingvar Vilhjálmsson

Regional Sales Manager Europe

Tel: +354 430 2000 | Mobile: +354 8953200


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