How about leaving the responsibility to the supplier?
Something is going on on several of Salmar Nord’s fleets. Everything seems normal, but behind the scenes, new technology ensures a small revolution.
In collaboration with Cargill / Ewos, the breeder has upgraded about 20 fleets with automatic hatches where the feed is delivered both without contact and manning. Now they are ready for the next step – SalMar Nord can stop monitoring and ordering. Cargill / Ewos takes the responsibility with monitoring, ordering and delivering.
We have had a chat with Fredrik Fredriksen in Cargill / Ewos, and Alf-Arild Jakobsen in SalMar Nord to hear about the project. One thing they do agree on though – long before they reach the finish line – is that this is the future.
Transportation is a challenge – want to get away from fixed routes
There are long distances along the coast, and Cargill / Ewos has worked with solutions to optimize feed deliveries for a long time. Fredriksen draws up, among other things, the collaboration agreement Fjordfrende with Skretting. Before, the companies each went with their feed boats along the same route at the same time. The collaboration means that they now go with one boat, in addition, the degree of filling has increased. But Cargill / Ewos has visions beyond that.
– We still go on a route between fixed places, and customers spend unnecessary time orienting themselves when we arrive. It would be much easier for the customer to know that the boat arrives when needed. And that is where we are heading now.
Automation is a step-by-step process that many have begun
Fredriksen says that the first step in the process is automatic hatches, which more and more people are installing. This gives Cargill / Ewos the opportunity to deliver without contact.
– The next step is to install automatic monitoring of the feed in the silo. This makes it easier for the breeder to keep track, but it also allows us to take responsibility for the monitoring. The customer avoids logistics around ordering, and we make sure that there is always enough feed. He emphasizes that automation can take place regardless of which system customers choose.
– The breeders choose which supplier and system they want to use for monitoring and opening the hatches, we only connect to these. All we need is an API that connects to our system. That is, a data file that allows information to be transferred to us.
Is it profitable to automate?
Over time, SalMar Nord has upgraded one fleet at a time to be staff- and touch-free using Sobit hatches and scanners from Moen Marin. Alf-Arild Jakobsen has only good experiences, and he believes that the gain is shown early.
– When we have installed fully automatic hatches, it is the feed boat itself that opens the hatches. Otherwise we would had to have two men there, who work for several hours. It is especially noticeable if the boat arrives at night, because now those who are going to work in the morning can sleep instead.
Fredriksen experiences that other breeders say something of the same.
– They are talking about winning from day one with automatic hatches. Overall, I think it is a good economy for all parties. We get a higher filling level, and we spend less time loading. Everyone benefits from it!
– The most important thing is that the regular people are ready to go to work in the morning
We ask Alf-Arild Jakobsen to mention what has meant the most to SalMar Nord financially, and he starts talking about expenses and saved wage costs, but ends up saying that it really boils down to one thing:
– The biggest gain is that we have the regular people at work in the morning. That they can start without delays – it saves us a lot of hassle and planning. When the feed boat arrives at night, automatic solutions are worth their weight in gold. It takes many hours to receive the feed, and people are entitled to rest time afterwards. We need people to be at work during the day.
When convoy driving stops the feed delivery…
– And speaking of getting to work… You may have heard of Bekkarfjord-Hopseidet and convoy driving on the radio? While the sea is completely silent, and the feed boat arrives as agreed, the workers are in a traffic jam due to storms over the mountain. So no one is present at the facility to receive the feed.
Looking forward to the feed suppliers taking responsibility for monitoring
Although SalMar Nord already has experienced great benefits, Alf-Arild Jakobsen is really looking forward to the next step – that the feed supplier also takes care of monitoring and delivers automatically.
– We have built up for automation and are getting more and more staff-free receptions, but we still have to register all orders 14 days in advance. 400 tons of feed every day. There’s a lot of logistics with that. And many working hours.
– Before Christmas, we in SalMar Nord will stop monitoring feed on three of the fleets. Then Cargill / Ewos takes over the responsibility and will make sure that the silos have enough feed at all times. They can plan shipping and delivery based on real needs, instead of waiting for us. We avoid a lot of work, so this is a win / win situation.
Accurate measurements are required if feed deliveries are to be automated
Jakobsen emphasizes that before a fleet can be fully automated, they must be sure that they have good measurements.
– We have tested different technology over time. We experience that the Sobit scanner from Moen Marin is very accurate, and if ordering of feed and delivery is to take place automatically, then that is a prerequisite.
He suddenly smiles slyly and adds.
– Or maybe we use the scanner as a pretext to take the step into a more fully automatic world? In that case, it’s okay, because we see that this is the future!
Jakobsen is in general eager for technological innovations.
– In traditional farming, there is a lot to work on compared to other industries. What people read about in the newspapers – articles that give the impression that the industry is heading into the future – is about land facilities and sea cages. They have come a long way there, but that is only part of the industry. We have had the same technology at sea for over 20 years, so here we have a lot to work on. I look forward to more staffing and non-contact facilities.
Who is leading the development?
But he says people are eager and everyone sees the benefits of automation. The biggest problem is that the industry and companies have not come far enough. Fredriksen must agree.
– It is now ten years since we started putting hatches on the silos. But the industry is still lagging behind, so it is probably us who are leading the development forward right now. We have opened up for the work, talked about it and started projects. But it also takes a certain volume to get efficiency and profitability, so it is only natural that large players such as Cargill / Ewos and SalMar Nord take the lead.
Knowing expected consumption is key
Fredriksen is concerned with expected consumption, which he calls the x-factor itself. The more secure the estimate you have, the better effect it will have for the entire value chain.
– Good, old-fashioned inventory management. When we manage the warehouse, we get numbers directly from the fleet and know how much feed is in the silo. Thus, we can estimate consumption in the next few days, set up delivery is based on real needs, and the feed boat will have an optimal degree of filling and itinerary.
– When we automate, we also get a significant environmental benefit. We avoid overcrowding, we can go with full boats, and we need fewer trips. It provides better infrastructure for the entire industry, and there are more climate-friendly and profitable solutions.