A fishy situation

April 4, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Something fishy was going on at Cordova, AK-based Norquest Seafoods, Inc. Production managers were faced with grinders that plugged up and overflowed when handling the remains of the fish products the company processed.

Norquest's replacement grinder units handle one or more product lines, with various types of remains conveyed separately to grinders as desired. Source: JWC Environmental.

"We are required to grind remains such as fish heads to particles having diameters of one-half inch or less before we can discharge them into Alaskan waters," says Lee Murrell II, roe manager at the Cordova plant. "However, the existing grinders often clogged and had to be reversed in order to clear them."
Company officials decided to replace the existing grinder on their floating processor, the Aleutian Falcon, with a Muffin Monster grinder as a trial run. The dual-shafted Muffin Monster made by JWC Environmental grinds a wider variety of solids than the manufacturer's single-shafted machines, while its low-speed operation results in higher torque and fewer interruptions. Its special cutter teeth were developed specifically for fish remains service.
Various cutter combinations in all the company's grinders allow for exit particle sizes as fine as one-quarter inch for 95% of ground material. Cutter elements are engineered in many variations to accommodate specific needs, and units are provided for both in-line and channel configurations.
"The new equipment allowed us to meet the requirements consistently for all the various seafood remains applications we put through it, and it ended the problem of the grinder plugging up and having to be reversed to clear it," says Murrell.
Following the installation of the new grinders, Murrell says the Aleutian Falcon was processing 10 to 11 million pounds of product annually, including salmon, herring and snow crab, operating 24/7 for five months, with the remains volume to be ground running at about 23%, or 2.5 million pounds.
"Based on those results, we tried the new grinders at the startup of our land-based Adak plant," he says. At the Adak plant, which was established to gain a foothold in the processing of Pacific cod (pcod), success was documented initially through 45 consecutive days of 24/7 operation, with volume averaging about 150,000 pounds per day of pcod, halibut, rock fish and king crab round product, and remains volume running at about 55%.
"That included the grinder handling severe duty #6 or #7 stainless steel hooks, with 12/0 or 13/0 openings, that we couldn't remove from 100% of the heads," Murrell notes. "It also had to handle rocks ingested by the pcod. We worked to remove those by taking out the stomachs in an effort to minimize replacement of the grinding teeth and gears, which we understood weren't designed for rocks or heavy duty hooks.
"Due to the excellent results at the Adak facility, we decided to install the new grinders throughout the company," says Murrell.
For more information: JWC Environmental; 800-331-2277;

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering January 2015 Cover

2015 January

In this January 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how robotics can play a role in pick-and-place, packaging, case packing and palletizing processes, and know where to implement robotic automation.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.