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Hav Line - Automatisering af laksehåndtering

The Hav Line Method 
Fully automated handling and packing of salmon


  • Ground-breaking concept
  • Improved working environment
  • Increased competitiveness
The Norwegian company Hav Line has built a new factory in Hirtshals. The factory has a gigantic sorting and packing facility that is ready to receive thousands of tonnes of salmon. Hav Line will ship salmon to Europe in half the time it normally takes and at the same time eliminate a huge number of lorries from Norwegian roads.

To do this, the Hav Line Method has been used, which involves the newly built salmon harvest vessel Norwegian Gannet extracting fish directly from the salmon farms along the Norwegian west coast. As soon as the fish are on board, the harvest vessel sails to Hirtshals and along the way, the fish are processed and placed in containers that cool them down to 0°C.

Once at Hirtshals, the fish are quickly pumped from the ship to the automatic sorting and packing facility where they are packed with ice in boxes in accordance with the final customer’s specifications.

Previously, the salmon were taken from fish farms located in Western or Northern Norway and processed on land before they were packed with tonnes of ice and placed on lorries that transported them to Europe or were sent by plane to the USA or Asia.

But the fish are now brought much closer to the export markets and fewer operations are involved, which means the fish are exposed to less stress and thus have better quality. At the same time, the method is kinder to the environment in terms of CO2 because fewer lorries are used on the roads.

In addition, mortality and loss along the way are reduced. The fish are also cooled down faster, which increases longevity and the fish will have a much lower temperature when laid in the boxes, which means less ice and more space, resulting in 5–7 % more fish in the boxes.

Minimal stop on the palletising cells

Once the fish are packed into boxes, they are transported out to the large palletising facility that BILA has developed. Four palletising robots pack 8–12 boxes a minute each, while two other palletising robots can deal with up to a ground-breaking 20 boxes a minute each.

In total, this is equivalent to more than one tonne of salmon a minute and from here an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) collects the finished pallet and transports it to the warehouse or for shipment.

It is not just the newly developed system’s high capacity that makes it so special; the AGV and robot communicate with each other and this means that the safety system in the cell provides the AGV with access so that it can move directly into the palletising cell and collect the filled pallet.

The robot can palletise at the other pallet points and the productivity is increased because it eliminates an operator from having to enter the cell and manually remove the finished pallet and thus stop the robot. This eliminated manual process can otherwise take up to 15–20% of productivity.

Significantly improved competitiveness

The combination of maximum capacity and innovative utilisation of existing technology has helped Hav Line to implement a new ground-breaking concept in the salmon industry. The technology has allowed Hav Line to minimise the average time it takes from the moment the salmon-laded ship arrives from Norway to the point in time when the salmon are on their way to customers all over the world.

At the same time, it has improved the working environment for employees and minimised operating costs – and thus competitiveness has been significantly increased.

"Helping to develop this new concept in close collaboration with Hav Line has been an incredibly rewarding experience for BILA. The palletising facility has a unique capacity, flexibility, cleaning-friendliness and above all, it is fully integrated with AGVs from our subsidiary AGV Scandinavia. We are convinced that the concept can set new standards in the salmon industry and in other food sectors. For example, the concept has already been sold to a major foreign chicken producer, which is an example of how the right technology can be used beneficially across several sectors.”

Jesper Højmark, Market Unit Manager, BILA



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Jesper Hjort

Jesper Hjort

Market Unit Manager
+45 2265 0016