The Gutmaster X Flex developed by Danish company Kroma to handle salmon and trout has been undergoing extensive trials with a producer in Scotland, with only minor adjustments required.
“We put a lot of effort into developing the GUTMASTER X Flex to do a genuine Princess cut so that the fish are more open around the gills. This ensures much better cleaning,” said Kroma’s managing director Ivan Kristensen.
The Gutmaster X’s modes of operation are all controlled from a touchscreen, allowing the operator to switch between large trout and salmon, or between a Princess and standard cut.
“It’s an instant changeover. Everything is done in software it’s just a tap of the screen to switch over,” he said.
Every fish is measured as it reaches the machine and Gutmaster X’s tools are activated based on this measurement. It also has three suction units –one to remove the gut and two to remove the blood line to ensure good cleaning of the processed fish. The suction tools operate in forward and backward directions, providing each tool with optimum time to clean the fish.
He commented that this new machine’s basic functions are largely similar to those of older machines used in the industry, but Kroma’s approach has been to develop a machine with much greater flexibility, plus with a significantly stronger focus on hygiene than went into the machines produced a couple of decades ago.
“The technical aspects that require daily access are where they can easily be reached. The parts you need to reach once in a while are further inside. We also concentrated very much on cleanability, with everything accessible.”
He commented that there is hardly a machine in existence that doesn’t have a few hidden corners, but making these accessible for cleaning means that this is not a problem.
“To clean the machine, you can open all the doors and everything becomes accessible, including any awkward spots. The user can also switch the machine to cleaning mode, and stand back. This cleans everything, including all the vacuum pipes.”
A quick release system on the tools facilitates ease of cleaning. The tools can easily be dismounted and washed or disinfected in a washing machine to eliminate any bacterial growth. The vacuum pipes on the machine and to the waste container can also be washed very easily.
The internal cleaning system is managed through the same touchscreen interface, which has a variety of levels of access. Operator mode is for the staff running the machine during operations, while cleaner access has a different set of options that do not interfere with the operational settings and technical mode allows access to everything.
A key feature that Kroma’s engineers have built into the Gutmaster X is an injected water spray.
“This is for difficult areas that are difficult to clean with vacuum only, so we have incorporated this to blow water into the salmon’s gut cavity to flush it out more effectively and to get the best possible cleaning,” Ivan Kristensen said.
The Gutmaster X comes with its own vacuum system, although it can also operate with a customer’s existing vacuum arrangement.
“Of course we prefer to use our own vacuum system, as we can be sure that it’s up to the job. If you have poor vacuum capacity, then you won’t get good gutting.”
Kroma’s Gutmaster X can also be fitted with Visiomaster module, which automatically checks that fish are completely clean of blood or other impurities. Visiomaster photographs every single fish as it passes through the machine and its software analyses every picture. A sorting device on the machine sorts the fish into clean fish and fish to be checked manually. All production data can also be uploaded electronically for further analysis.