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A fishy situation

April 4, 2006
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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; www.jwce.com

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