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4CWhite -The first high-precision Computer-Controlled Collarbone Cutter for Whitefish

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 4CWhite (4CWhite -The first high-precision Computer-Controlled Collarbone Cutter for Whitefish)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-09-30

Fish processing companies are continuously seeking innovation to minimize their waste, while ensuring the sustainability of the industry.
Using 4CWhite, whitefish processors can expect a high-value yield increase of fish meat up to 2% from manual cutting and 8% from adapted heading machines, which can be translated into millions of euros in value. Taking into account raw material and labour savings, a typical 4CWhite customer will regain their investment in 1-2 years.
4CWhite will therefore impact the profitability of the fish processing industry, increasing yield and reducing wastage. Additionally, 4CWhite will reduce the injuries brought by the cutting activities and automate an under-valued job to a more specialized and added-value task.
Technical objectives include finalising the design of the M, L and XL machines to achieve the desired yield increase with regards to adapted heading machines, fine-tune electrical, mechanical and software design for the machines, redesign mechanical parts to increase the machine’s lifetime and reduce the maintenance needs, optimize the automation part to increase the yield with regards to manual cutting and perform type tests on separate modules. Also to prepare our new facilities, build the process to ensure the leanest assembly line and then to assemble the first four “0” machines.

Required documentation needs finalizing, including parts catalogue and operation and service manual. Commercial objectives involve CE marking, commercialization agreements and distribution and service agreements. Communication objectives focus on the development of commercial materials, website and newsletters, advertising in publications and presence in trade fairs.
We achieved mechanical improvements, working on designing our own robotic solution for the machine, made of stainless steel and other food approved materials and withstanding heavy washing. We also did an optimization of the robot needed to be applied to keep the weight at a bare minimum

Electrical improvements are also important, working on the new servomotors that can handle the harsh environment that they are placed in and allowing to move the robotic cutting mechanism quickly and safely to their cutting positions so that the required throughput of 30-35 fishes/min is achieved.

Software needed to be re-done, in order to fit to the new equipment. Homing sequence was added to the software so that the machine and tools are referenced before the machine can run. A recipe option was added to the interface giving the option of saving and restoring the machine settings. User management was implemented to the system to control access for different types of operators

Documentation related to the machine was created, including parts list, electrical schematics, user manual for safe operation and service.

Commercialization activities have been largely affected by the Covid19 pandemic. Nonetheless we tried to compensate with our participation in online trade fairs
We are still working on fully finishing the assembly of the 4 ‘0’ machines. They are around 80% finished at the end of this period. The electrical connections have been made from the control cabinet to the motors and other electrical parts of the machine. Automatic lubrication system has been installed and its tubing laid out the machine along with the pneumatic and water system. The robots are almost fully assembled, some changes needed to be made to the design due to the layout of the machine, which is a minor change.
Because we have been delayed with the assembly of our ´0´machines due to many different reasons, the validation of the machines has not yet been carried out.