Frozen mussel processing system using tna’s rofloHMW 3 conveyors
Packaging and processing specialist tna has installed an integrated system at North Island Mussel Processors Limited (NIMPL) in Tauranga, New Zealand, which can withstand the challenging frozen mussel processing environment. This latest customised distribution solution combines an open, gateless stainless steel design with caustic washdown capabilities to minimise food safety risks.
The new, state-of-the-art NIMPL facility, opened by Prime Minister John Key in June 2010, processes up to 1.6 million individually quick frozen (IQF) half-shell mussels per day. tna’s installation at the factory comprises an innovative combination of distribution, accumulation and weighing systems.
A key feature of the system is the five tna rofloHMW 3 electromagnetically driven horizontal motion conveyors. These have been specially constructed to handle aggressive pressure cleaning with caustic solutions without the need to remove any guarding or machine parts. Importantly, the rofloHMW 3 is gateless so the risk of contamination is minimised. This hygienic design is particularly important in shellfish applications where microbial pathogens, particularly Listeria , are a serious threat.
The rapid, yet gentle linear motion of the system transports the IQF mussels with no vibration, reducing damage to the shells which can be brittle depending on the season. Steve Wells, General Manager at North Island Mussel Processors, comments: “Our mussels are high-quality, added-value products popular in restaurants across the world. As they are served in the half shell, presentation is very important - broken shells are not acceptable.
“The tna system gently handles this delicate product and has already resulted in a 20% reduction in shell breakages. Importantly, it also meets our stringent cleaning requirements while also maximising productivity and operational efficiency as it significantly reduces downtime for cleaning by up to 60% and cleaning time by 40% compared to conventional conveyors. And with full automated control and few moving parts, we can see that the ongoing maintenance requirements will be considerably less than mechanical handling systems.”
Paul Daniel, General Manager, tna New Zealand, adds: “We’re very pleased with the results of our work with NIMPL. This full washdown system is the first of its kind on the market - and it will now become the norm in wet environment applications with stringent and harsh cleaning requirements. The simple, yet flexible, open design means there are no hollow sections or bug traps, which is a critical concern for the seafood industry. ”
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