Habasit on the high seas

One of the world`s most modern sea vessels has recently been launched from the shores of Iceland. The 55-meter steel fishing trawler Engey RE91 is equipped to sail not only through the North Sea, but also through the extreme climate of the Arctic Ocean, an area almost completely covered in ice each winter. A polar world of jutting icebergs, glaciers and miles of slushy sea, early cartographers did not know whether to draw the region as land or water.

Today, this once unchartered territory is the fishing grounds for Engey RE91, a ship equipped with an extensive fish processing system created by Skaginn 3X for the Icelandic seafood company, HB Grandi. Skaginn 3X is a long-time customer of Habasit and the recent recipient of the Icelandic Innovation Award for New Technology.

An on-board production

Skaginn 3X`s latest equipment is based on cutting-edge developments in the fish processing and automation industry. More efficient product handling means a fresher and higher quality of fish.

The massive trawler is not only fortified to transport and store some of the world`s largest catches, but it is also equipped with a complete processing plant on-board. The highly developed system utilises Habasit belts to complete the cleaning, weighing, sorting and chilling before the fish have even left the boat.

The ship features a revolutionary new SUB-CHILLING™ system which cools the fish down to -1 ° C without freezing it. The catch can then be conveniently and safely stored without the use of ice. This is just one of many of Skaginn 3X`s on-board innovations, including six pending patents for the processing equipment used on the Engey.

Check out these videos to see the on-board fish processing and box conveyor systems in action:


The right conditions for comfort

The fish are not the only ones who are treated well. Due to the harsh weather conditions, the crew stays mostly indoors for weeks at a time. Extra care has been taken to make the interior of the ship a comfortable and livable space. The higher-ranking officers have mini-suites with lounge and office areas, while the other crew members have single berth cabins with shared bathrooms. The living quarters are complemented by a gym as well as a sauna and recreation area with large windows where one can view the icy beauty of the Arctic scenery. If that gets tiresome, widescreen televisions are also provided.

Two more ships of equal caliber are currently underway and can be expected to soon make up a small fleet of HB Grandi fishing giants.

Tracing the makings of a trawler

Skaginn 3X first approached Habasit about producing the plastic modular belts for the on-board processing plants in the Autumn of 2016. Some of the required belts would reach up to 30 meters in length, and with an average of 50 belts per boat, it was an enormous order with a given delivery time of only six weeks. Skaginn 3X was a unique customer in that they bought large containers of plastic modules and then did their own on-site assembly.

One of the main advantages of ordering belts from Habasit was the superior level of sanitation available at every stage of fish processing. The standard Flat Top and the Flush Grid 2” plastic modular belts both provide excellent hygiene properties with easy to clean open hinges and one-piece wide modules which dramatically reduce the number of gaps where bacteria can grow. Each belt also features the patented “Oblong hole” which allows water to more effectively reach and clean the hinge areas.

Additionally, the 2” Top Round Bar Flight was utilised on some belts to ensure gentle handling which effectively reduces product waste and improves overall production quality.

Plastic modular belts were not the only Habasit product featured on the boat. HabaSYNC® timing belts were also used for the unloading system (40 metres long) as well as the box conveyor system (700 metres long) used to transport the daily catch. For the specific demands of fish handling, a brand-new belt was developed with an AT20 pitch with Stainless Steel cord. The product has already proven to be 1000N stronger than equivalent timing belts on the market, and has now become an exciting addition to the Habasit portfolio.

No room for risk

Since ships are often gone for weeks at a time, the reliability of each piece of equipment is essential. Corners cannot be cut and unnecessary risks cannot be taken. That is why Skaginn 3X chose Habasit as a partner for this large-scale project which requires absolute quality in every detail of production.

Although Habasit has already been present in the Icelandic market for nearly a decade, on-board belting is a quickly growing industry with unique demands. Habasit looks forward to setting forth on the high seas of further innovation and partnership in Iceland and beyond. (ST)

Stefan Fransson Technical Application Manager

Habasit on the high seas

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