March 2016

These are the rules that should be followed for a successful seafood processing equipment project. These rules can apply to a process automation project, to a custom equipment design project, or to an equipment selection and implementation project.

1. Get out of the office

A seafood processing equipment project shouldn't be completed from an office desk. You have to get out in the plant were the equipment will be used. You have to see the facility, see how things gets done, how things moves around, from all aspect of the processing line, from start to finish. Ideally you should also be able so see how the processing stages are completed before the processing equipment stage you are working on starts.

2. Get your hands dirty

When you are in the plant, just don't look around from a distance. Take the opportunity to dig your hands in the product. Literally. Get your hands dirty. You need to have a good feeling of how the product feels. Feel its texture, before and after it is processed. You need to experiment the product if it is the first time that you are working on that particular specie. You should also look at everything that get thrown away in the process. Make sure that every member of your feam that will work on the project have the opportunity to play with the product in their hands too.

3. Get it right

Every project starts with an assumption from the management of the seafood processing operation. These guys know their business but by managing it on a daily basis. And they end up with a microscopic view of their seafood or fish processing activities. Take the opportunity of the seafood processing equipment project to take a telescopic view of the processing activities. Take a step back and look at a broader picture. Many times the problem identified is not exactly the one that needs to be solved. And many times other issues will appear after an thorough analysis.

4. Costs, costs and costs

Never keep your eyes off the costs. All the costs. Because cost is the main reason why a project fails. Not only the equipment cost, but the costs that are involved during the project and the costs that are involved in the equipment's life on the processing line. The costs related to the project include the fees of the personnel responsible to complete the project, but also all the subcontractors fees. You should not forget the equipment installation costs, transportation costs, customs and taxes costs. The costs related to the equipment usage include the energy costs, the maintenance costs, cleaning cost, waste water produced, and also the costs to manage the rejects produced by the equipment.

5. Prototype. Test. Repeat.

When the project involves experimental development or automation, quickly move to testing. Don't waist too much money on designing the perfect engineering achievement in food grade material right away. You should first start by quickly building prototypes to validate the hypothesis and to solve the technical uncertainties with real product. To save time use cheaper materials and manual energy to simulate automated operation. By proceeding that way uncertainties will be cleared faster and new potential problems will pop-up earlier, and time and money will be saved on the project.