One of the main exporters of frozen fish in Peru, Coinrefri SRL, has intensified its investment in technologies to offer the market more products with greater added value. In order to efficiently meet the increased demand since 2016, the company invested in a partnership with Marel, which provided automation solutions for the processing and final packaging operations of the Paita and Tacna plants.
For a long time, most of our customers were importers who distributed the fish to other industries for further processing. Over the years, we have identified the growing demand for products for retail (supermarket) and HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and catering)”, says the general manager, Francisco Takahashi Iguchi.
To serve the retail and HoReCa sectors, the company sought solutions for automating the packaging process to diversify the product offerings with higher added value to end consumers. To this end, it invested in equipment from Marel's grading, batching and weighing, and portioning lines.
At the Paita plant, where giant squid, hake, scallops and mahi-mahi are processed, the needs were in secondary processing and packaging, the agility of the lines and control of giveaway. Marel's SmartLine grader, two Compact Graders, and a TargetBatcher were installed, in addition to bench scales and checkweighers with metal detection to resolve the issues.
At the Tacna plant, where trout on Lake Titicaca are processed, demands arose at the beginning of the line in the primary processing of fresh fish.
When we began our trout operations, the primary processing was very manual. We decided to implement equipment that automated these processes, such as a Pinbone Remover, an active quality control line, and the Fillet Washer. Then, we chose to complement the final process with a TargetBatcher and a Compact Grader”, reports the general manager.
Demand by retailers increased exponentially in the year 2020 and the beginning of 2021. “The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products and portions of fixed weight. We needed to become more efficient in the portion cutting process,” says Francisco Takahashi Iguchi.
In early 2020, Coinrefri acquired an I-Cut 130 PortionCutter for mahi-mahi portions to efficiently serve this market. The equipment was installed by Marel in October 2020, with the help of remote support due to travel restrictions. The service was carried out at the beginning of the mahi-mahi fishing season in Peru, which ensured the necessary structure to meet this demand with greater economic yield in the portioning process.
In addition to the quality of equipment and software, Marel's technical and sales support played a leading factor in Coinrefri’s final decision. The interaction between the teams contributed to the success of the partnership. Given the positive results, the company also signed service level agreements for the equipment in operation and planned future investments, focusing on process efficiency.
We were clearly able to evaluate the return on investment of Marel equipment, whether in reducing the number of workers on the lines, in the flexibility of operations and in controlling the final weight of portions and packaging. In this way, we respond better to market demands,” declares Francisco Takahashi Iguchi.