Folla builds on Loppa’s success
The success of the Loppa heading and gutting machine developed by Måløy company Havfront has been such that a new machine for use in shore-based fish processing has been developed, with the prototype already in use.
A year of intensive development and testing has gone into preparing the prototype Folla, and this has worked so well that Havfront’s partner, Husøy company Br. Karlsen, who were instrumental in initiating the Folla’s development, has already taken it into regular use.
Designed to gut and head cod, saithe, haddock, tusk, ling and catfish across the whole size range from from 1 to 20kg, the Folla’s origins go back to the Lofotfishing exhibition in 2017, when Terje Sørensen and Jakob Karlsen of Br. Karlsen saw what the Loppa gutting and heading machine for use at sea was capable of doing – and decided that this was the functionality they were looking for on shore as well.
“We were impressed by the Loppa, but it was not suitable for use on shore. At the same time, we were so dissatisfied with the machines we had that we suggested the idea of a shore-based machine,” Terje Sørensen said.
Their suggestion set things moving at Havfront, and having a partner to collaborate with in developing new technology is a key element of such a venture. Br. Karlsen provided opportunities and raw material for three rounds of full-scale testing under working conditions, as well as bringing their own input to the process.
“We’re grateful to Br. Karlsen for their commitment and hospitality. Without them as a test company, we would never have got the result we have with the Folla as it is today,” said Havfront’s Marius Strømmen, adding that they expect to develop this further.
Terje Sørensen added that there may be challenges to adapt the Folla to existing production lines, although it is easily fitted into a new processing setup.
“We see the Folla as a game changer for whitefish processing on shore, replacing today’s manual handling with automated systems. Systematic development work has made it possible to achieve this,” Marius Strommen said.
The Folla development hasn’t escaped notice, including that of Egil Henning Ytterøy of Innovation Norway Vestland, which has collaborated with Havfront on previous projects, both in connection with start-ups and on the marketing side. As Havfront’s results in these projects had been reassuring, Innovation Norway had no problem in contributing around NoK2.5 million in R&D support for the Folla development.
“Havfront and Br. Karlsen have managed the funds well. We see that Havfront has established a niche where they identify challenges in the industry and deliver solutions that add value for customers,” said Egil Henning Ytterøy.
“During the Folla project, we maintained had a good dialogue all the way. Havfront has kept informed us about the progression compared to the project plan, which is very important. There is not a lot of development work of this type within the whitefish industry, so we have been very happy to collaborate with Havfront again to produce more such strong results.”
Frank Jakobsen at the Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Fund has also been impressed with the thoroughness of the testing process behind the Folla machine.
“The goals have been high, but they have worked really hard to reach them, without taking their expectations too far and generating unrealistic ambitions. They have run large volumes of fish through the rounds of testing and the results have been impressive,” he said.
“This has been a very exciting project that we look at as money well spent. We have already marketed this project at several large industry gatherings.”
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