Growth through automation at Noronha Pescados

Humble beginnings

When immigrant Wilhelm Blanke first arrived in Pernambuco, Brazil, he was overwhelmed with all the fishing possibilities in his new homeland and soon became a passionate fisherman. His son Guilherme Blanke later turned his father’s hobby into a business and remains head of the company to this day.

Blanke and his father started with eight fishing boats and for many years sold their catch to local wholesalers for processing. They began processing their own fish in the 1980s in order to grow the business, supplying food service companies, hotels, hospitals and supermarkets. Then, to further increase their capacity and meet a steadily growing demand, they expanded and built a new facility in 2008.

Noronha Pescados is now based in Recife and employs around 250 people. More than 3,000 retailers distribute their products.

Quality Raw Materials

Salmon has become a substantial part of Noronha Pescados’ production at 10 tons per day, but in total they process around 20 tons per day of diverse species of saltwater, freshwater, Amazon River fish, mollusks and shellfish.

High-value catch such as tuna and lobster are exported to Europe and the United States, while 90% of Noronha Pescados’ products are destined for Brazil’s domestic market. The diverse range of its catch allows the company to meet a wide variety of consumer needs under the Noronha brand.

“Our customers know quality when they see it,” says Guilherme Blanke, CEO Noronha Pescados. “When they buy our products, they can be sure that they’re getting the highest quality available on the market. There’s a reason we’ve been in business for 50 years!”

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Meeting New Demands

Like many processors in the area, Noronha Pescados had a long history of manual processing. But as their output grew, it became more difficult to cut fixed-weight portions precisely and quickly enough by hand to meet the demands of the consumer retail sector.

The company was already operating with Marel equipment, including a Target Batcher and a cutting line, and looked for portion cutting solutions at the 2017 Seafood Expo in Brussels. They visited two Marel customer factories in England and Scotland to see the machine up close in a factory setting, and what they saw confirmed that I-Cut 11 was the right equipment to help boost their operations in the future.

Transforming the business

Blanke says the Marel equipment has transformed their facility. “The equipment meets our demand very precisely,” he explains. “The machine automates the weighing and portion-cutting processes and achieves accurate fixed-weight portions; a result that you simply can’t achieve with manual cutting.”

The small footprint of the I-Cut 11 and minimal disruption of integrating it into their processing line have ensured a very smooth transition.

Today, Marel’s I-Cut 11 is helping Noronha Pescados meet the new market demands for portions at the retail level. Brazilians are choosing to eat more fish as a healthier alternative, but they prefer not to buy a whole fish – they want the convenience of ready-to-cook portions, and they don’t want to waste the parts of the fish they wouldn’t use.

“Now we can serve industries that require exact fixed-weight servings,” Blanke says.

For us, the precision of Marel’s I-Cut 11 has transformed our business and is helping us meet expanding retail demands.

Guilherme Blanke
CEO Noronha Pescados

Future growth through automation

Noronha Pescados is always on the lookout for innovations to enhance its processing. Since the I-Cut 11 can integrate seamlessly with other Marel equipment, Noronha Pescados is also well prepared for future growth.

“There’s a real partnership between Marel and Noronha Pescados,” Blanke says. “As we expand our operations, our focus will be to automate more of our processes. To do that, I know that we can rely on Marel.”

Fast, precise, automatic portion cutting

Marel has been a leading innovator of portion cutters for over 20 years, with more than 2,200 machines installed worldwide. We offer a wide range of portion cutting equipment so processors can keep pace with the constantly evolving demands of their customers.

Marel portion cutters are easy to integrate into existing lines, and work well with other machines including the SpeedSort and StripCutter.

Combined with our Innova software to streamline operations and automate production, Marel portion cutters perform highly accurate and reliable fixed-weight or fixed-length portioning for whitefish or salmon. They boost profits by delivering high yields with minimum waste.