Sustainable fish processing: Combination of macerator and rotary lobe pump enables efficient collagen production
Fish is not just one of the staple foods in all the world’s coastal regions, its high-quality constituents – from omega 3 fatty acids to iodine – mean it is also becoming a significant component of a healthy diet worldwide. On the other hand, most of the residues are disposed of or processed into cheap animal feed, although the skins do for instance contain valuable proteins.
Vinh Hoan Corp., based in the Mekong-Delta, is one of the main global suppliers of pangasius, which is native to the region, and the company deals with customers in around 40 countries. A key product is collagen powder with the brand name Amigen. The powder is produced by enzymatic hydrolysis from the pangasius skins derived from the production of fillets for the global market.
The fish skins are around 18 cm long, depending on the age of the fish, and also elastic and extremely slippery due to the humid environment, so the company needed suitable pump technology in order to be able to transport them for processing. An issue of the application was that the fish skins are mixed with hot water in an 80:20 ratio and come into the macerator at a pressure of around 2 bar, which means they are moving very fast and there is a risk that unprocessed parts might slip through. For this, NETZSCH Pumps & Systems, supplied a combination of a high-performance twin shaft macerator and a hygienic full-metal rotary lobe pump.
A twin shaft macerator was therefore used, as its speed can be adjusted to the flow of the difficult medium mixture to achieve an ideal result in terms of cutting. The macerated pieces of skin flow out of the macerator directly into a T.Proc® rotary lobe pump which handles further conveyance. The pump, which is part of the Tornado® T2 series from NETZSCH, is particularly recommended for very lumpy media due to its large free ball passage. Even with coarse pieces of skin, which might have slipped through the macerator due to their slippery consistency, the pump can easily cope without any risk of clogging.