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Automated Pinbone Removal In COd and WhiTefish

  • Published 16/01/2015
  • Last updated 24/01/2012
The objective of this project is to develop and test equipment to automatically cut the pinbones out of whitefish fillets, such as cod.

The project is completed. Download the final report here.


Main objectives:

The project's main objective is to develop and test a fully automatic machine for real-time high-resolution x-ray detection and automatic removal of pin bones in cod as primary raw material focus.


Automation, efficiency and optimized use of fish raw material are essential to keep the Nordic whitefish industry profitable, environmentally sustainable and globally competitive. Automated pin pone removal has the potential to increase the sustainability, profits and market for cod and other whitefish and plays an important role in the automation of the industry.



Overall, increased rate of the pin bone removal, to a level where the system will become commercially interesting, has been solved via three main innovations: A high-resolution sensor providing 3D position of the complete pinbone, a precise cutting unit, and using measured positions to optimize cutting.


This technology has been build in one machine, the FleXicut.


At this moment the prototype is in testing phase and the objective is to have a fully developed product ready in the coming months. Full implementation will be when the FleXicut if formally free for sale.


Concrete results and conclusions:

Results show that this is technically possible and economically feasible.


With the FleXicut we can measure the fillet, process the data and cut at current processing speed in processing plant. By using water-jets for the bone removal process, which is more flexible than blade cutting alone we have more variety in cutting patterns which enables processors to optimize their product offering.


The FleXicut will deliver higher quality material, through improved product handling and bone free products. By moving cutting decisions from manual operation to FleXicut we get higher value products and more flexibility.



The industry needs to move into inline automated processing in the near future. The next steps in this development and missing links:


  • Inline Quality Control, early process stages for whitefish and salmon industry: nematodes, filleting defects and blood spot detection.  Such a quality measurement can be used for data collection and as part of processing decision as well.
  • Production planning: For full tracking and traceability of the catch as well as to optimize, usage of raw material with regards to the finished product. This is where we have seen the poultry industry going.
  • Automatic Packing for whitefish and salmon; logistic, packing, give away and fixed weight. These are all very important factors when considering the automation in processing of whitefish and salmon.

Project owner:

Kristján Hallvarðsson:
Marel, IS


Project leader:

Kristinn Andersen
Marel, IS


Project members:

Johannes Palsson
Norway Seafoods Group AS, NO
Jens Pauli Petersen
Faroe Origin, FO
Helene Schulerud
Tone B. Gjerstad


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Nordic Marine Innovation Programme


See the Combined list of the projects in the programme

A main premise of the marine innovation program is to have businesses take ownership and an active role in the projects.


Enhance the innovation capability in the Nordic marine sector and thereby its profitability and competitiveness in a global market

Visualise the sector as an interesting sector with huge potential


Strengthen and establish B2B og B2R cooperation and support Nordic ”value chains” – horizontal and vertical


Create platform for multi-disciplinary/sectoral cooperation


Cooperation with Canada


Create Nordic value through more cooperation between Nordic and national innovation agencies


Emphasis on:

- Industry needs and active  
- Concrete results and activities
   close to market
- Sustainability
- Innovation knowledge