FISHING: Fish Sector Processing Streamlined
Recent Western Cape Business News
GEA Westfalia Separator South Africa, the leader in niche-market process technology, has received an order from the Western Cape-based fish product company, Oceana Brands, for two three-phase decanters.
The order requires the decanters to be installed at its St Helena Bay fishmeal operation for optimised process methods that are designed to achieve sustained, high quality fishmeal production.
“As the selling price of fish oil and fishmeal into selected markets has improved substantially in the last couple of years, Oceana Brands wishes to sustain high quality output in a climate of diminishing natural resources,” says Leonard Vanek, sales manager at GEA Westfalia.
“This order marks the second phase of a large-scale process refinement plan by the company, as in February 2011, its Hout Bay facility saw the commissioning of two three-phase decanters from GEA Westfalia.”
These additional decanters will help utilise raw material to its fullest by efficiently separating fish oil and solids material for further processing into specialised aquaculture feed ingredients.
The Oceana Group uses a production process whereby fresh fish are cooked in indirect continuous cookers.
Fish solids, fish oil, and fishy water are then separated in the three-phase decanters supplied by GEA Westfalia.
These decanters are designed to separate these masses inside the centrifuge at a rate of 10 to 12 cubic metres per hour.
Fish water extracted during the process has a high content of valuable dissolved proteins.
This is evaporated in a three-stage waste heat evaporator process to a fish water concentrate of 35%, which is fed back to the fish solids before final drying in indirect steam and hot air dryers.
“The three-phase decanters separate all three products simultaneously.”
“The high manufacturing standards and product quality considerations of Oceana Brands require that processing is as quick as possible – keeping freshness of materials in mind. The continuous feed system assists in keeping the processing rate at its design capacity,” explains Vanek.
Furthermore, fish-meal products are tested for microbiological contamination, so the decanters from the GEA Westfalia Separator Group are equipped with a clean-in-place (CIP) system for unsupervised cleaning control cycles. Vanek says: “This decanter range is also very low-maintenance, featuring heavy-duty design and hard facing scroll flights.”
Another feature of decanters from GEA Westfalia is that their advanced process efficiency reduces the requirement for the addition of artificial stabilising agents typically used to aid the separation of oil, water, and fish solids in the conventional fishmeal process.
Also, the water/oil separation phase, associated with more traditional two-phase decanters, becomes optional when using these three-phase decanters – as high centrifugal forces inside three-phase decanters, supplied by GEA Westfalia, create adequate separation of fish solids, water and oil in the same treatment phase.
“We are leading future advancements in the fish processing industry. Currently being designed and tested is a decanter capable of boosting three-phase decanter processing capacity by 50% to 60%. This will be the first time a fish meal decanter of this type will be manufactured world-wide,” Vanek says.
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