InnovaMar – from dream to reality

Ever since SalMar was established in 1991, harvesting and processing have been key elements in the SalMar Group’s strategy. Over the years both the market and the production technology used by the industry and SalMar have made developed significantly. After several years of meticulous planning, SalMar decided in 2009 to invest in what is today one of the world’s most innovative and cost-effective facilities for the landing, harvesting and processing of salmon. The new facility, called InnovaMar, is situated right next to the old plant in Frøya. Through a higher rate of automation and new combinations of technical solutions InnovaMar will enable SalMar to strengthen its competitiveness, increase its capacity and flexibility, and improve the quality of its products. InnovaMar is an important element in the realisation of the company’s strategy, which focuses heavily on industrial development and value creation.

Around NOK 550 million has been invested in buildings and machinery at the InnovaMar facility, which covers 17,500 m2 of floor space. The harvesting plant went into operation in September 2010, though a fire in a storeroom in mid-October that year put it out of action until 6 December 2010. Towards the end of the year the harvesting plant was once again operational, while the processing plant started up gradually in the first and second quarters of 2011. Due to the harvesting profile of SalMar’s own farmed salmon output, neither the harvesting nor the processing plants were working to full capacity in 2011. Despite this, more than 80,000 tonnes of salmon were harvested at InnovaMar in 2011.

The facility comprises two departments (harvesting and processing). Considerable resources have been devoted to challenging traditional solutions. Key elements in the development work were fish welfare, working environment, food safety, internal logistics and efficiency. This has led to the adoption of innovative technologies in production, which increase the quality of the final product, reduce costs and improve the employees’ working environment. The facility has a capacity of around 150,000 tonnes of salmon, while each of our four up-to-date holding pens can accommodate some 350 tonnes of live fish.

In addition to fish welfare, the working environment, efficiency and food safety, InnovaMar has other features that were important in its design. These include energy consumption, the handling and use of offcuts, as well as a reduced transport requirement through increased sales of filleted rather than whole fish. These are aspects of InnovaMar that SalMar is extremely happy to have developed to a level exceeding today’s industry standards. The flexibility that the facility affords also makes it particularly well able to cope with any future changes in production that may arise as a result of the needs and requirements of both customers and regulatory authorities.

Harvesting plant
Gentle handling of the salmon has been a key element in the design of the harvesting plant. Fish welfare is extremely important, both out of consideration for the salmon and for the quality of the final product. The distribution system for whole fish is also a vital part of the harvesting plant, since it ensures good control and optimal exploitation of the raw materials.

The plant has the capacity for all kinds of storage. Good internal logistics contribute to safe and efficient handling of the products. The increased capacity affords a high level of flexibility with regard to organising production and sales. Moreover, each individual fish that enters the facility is categorised, which enables total traceability throughout the plant. Together with the traceability that SalMar has in the rest of the value chain, it is possible to track the product’s journey from roe to retailer.

SalMar is working systematically to ensure optimal utilisation of the facility, not least through the sale of harvesting and processing services to other fish farmers in central Norway. In 2012 this boosted our harvested volume by some 10 per cent, as a result of which, for the first time ever, we sold over 100 million kilos of salmon in one year – an achievement we at SalMar are extremely proud of.

Processing plant
As with the harvesting plant, the distribution system is a vital element in the processing of fish, and allows extremely good control of both traceability and output. Quality is maintained through gentle transfers between operations and production lines. Efficiency is enhanced through a higher rate of automation, eg in connection with portion packing and palleting. Furthermore, together with its equipment suppliers, SalMar has worked extensively to improve the machinery’s hygienic design. This has facilitated optimal cleaning and washing procedures, which in turn secure the production of safe food.