Goldmann Engineering CC

How to choose the right machine

There is a very wide range of machinery for food processing. Different machines have different capabilities. As a general rule: the more you want a machine to do, the more complex it is, the higher the price.

Following are specifications that we will ask of you when advising on the correct machine for you:

Raw material: type

Raw material differ significantly in size & shape.

Even within the same major specie, the bone structure can be slightly different, requiring a different setup in the machine. For example: Hake in South Africa can be Merlucius Capensis or Merlucius Paradoxis. Their centre bone has a difference that requires us to setup the filleting machine differently.

So, it is VERY important to specify exactly what raw material/specie you wish to process.

Freezing fish fillets layered in large cardboard cartons, require a different kind of freezer compared to a one that freezes loose fish loins.

(Even in the case of a seperator which can be used for chicken, meat, fish and de-packaging, it is important to specify what you will process because different attachments may be needed on the machine.)

Raw material: state

A filleting machine will achieve higher yield if it processes fresh firm fish, whereas defrosted 'pap' fish will result in slightly lower yields. Defrosted fish is best skinned using a Trio freeze drum skinning machine, whereas a Baader 52 is the best solution for fresh firm fillets.

Raw material: size

Some machines can process a wide size range without adjustment.

Depending on the type of raw material, other machines can only process certain size ranges: if larger raw material is to be processed, then the setup may need to be changed.

Price becomes a factor here: a simple machine may only process certain size ranges, whereas a more complex fully automated machine which self adjusts will be far higher in price.


What must the machine do? Fillet (which means take the bone out)? Skin? Separate? Freeze? Pack? Etc

In fish processing, you may have one machine for heading, one for filleting, and one for skinning. There are,however, also machines that do both heading and filleting.

Factory location

In fish processing, it is important to specify Land or Sea? Processing machines built for sea-going trawlers, process fish at very high speed, but do sacrifice yield as a result. Land-based machines are slower but have higher yield.

Freezers on trawlers need to fit into very tight spaces, whereas spiral freezers are very large but are not a problem in land factories.

Speed / volume

It is easy to specify the need for the 'fastest' machine. This may does not, however, take into acount limitations caused by, for example, operators. Typically on a saddle fish filleting machine, an operator usually can only correctly seat the fish up to a maximum of 32 fish per minute. Even though the speed of the machine could be increased to 36 fish per minute, experience has shown that operators cannot keep up: they either seat the fish incorrectly, or they skip a saddle, in which case the actual machine speed is halved.

Speed of a skinning machine may be limited by the machines before it. Even though a skinning machine can skin 200 fillets in a minute, if only one filleting machine feeds it, and that filleting machine runs at 32 fish/minute, then the skinning machine will only effectively be runing at 64 fillets per minute,

In the case of a seperator, because of the type of material it processes (e.g. fish skins / fish frames / chicken wishbones), we don't specify it's speed, but rather the amount of kg's/hour.

Be sure to consider that:

- Higher speed may require more complex machinery, and thus result in a higher price.

- Higher speed may also sacrifice on yield.

- High speed / large volume may be required in order to ensure high quality. 1 ton of product may take 6 hours using a slow machine. The same 1 ton could be worked away in 1 hour on a faster/larger machine. What difference will it make to your product quality if it takes 6 hours versus 1 hour? What difference will it make to your production e.g. employing a person for 6 hours versus 1 hour?


Having the fastest, most intelligent machine comes at a price. It is important to determine your budget.

Specific cuts required

A salmon fillet can be sliced into thin layers for retail. Specific markets require the pin bone to be removed out of a fillet. One whole fish can deliver 2 separate fillets, or using a butterfly cut, the whole fish can be opened up with both fillets still in tact.