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Title:
A METHOD FOR AUTOMATICALLY PROCESSING FISH FILLETS WHEN THEY ARE IN A FROZEN STATE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/093539
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to method for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state. The method includes obtaining image data of the fish fillets, processing the obtained image data, cutting the fish fillets based on pre-defined criteria, wherein the cutting is performed dynamically based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet.

Inventors:
HALLVARDSSON, Kristjan (Budavad 4, 110 Reykjavik, 110, IS)
Application Number:
EP2016/079675
Publication Date:
June 08, 2017
Filing Date:
December 02, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAREL ICELAND EHF. (Austurhraun 9, 210 Gardabaer, 210, IS)
International Classes:
A22C25/16; A22B5/00
Domestic Patent References:
2002-06-06
2013-09-12
2013-09-12
Foreign References:
EP1830656A12007-09-12
US4748724A1988-06-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INSPICOS P/S (Kogle Allé 2, 2970 Hørsholm, 2970, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, the method comprising:

- obtaining (101) image data of the fish fillets,

- processing ( 102) the obtained image data,

- cutting (103) the fish fillets based on pre-defined criteria,

wherein the cutting is performed based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the cutting is performed using high pressure water jet (304).

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the pre-defined criteria include cutting the fish fillets into portions.

4. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the pre-defined criteria include cutting around pin bones or on both sides of the row of pin of the fish fillets and/or cutting and removing undesired tissues from the fish fillets.

5. The method according to any of the claims 2 to 4, wherein processing the obtained image data comprises determining surface height profiles for the fish fillets and where the surface height profiles are utilized in operating the high pressure water jet. 6. The method according to claim 5, wherein the step of operating the high pressure water jet comprises moving the high pressure water jet during cutting such that it follows the surface height profile (302) of the frozen fish fillet and is positioned at a fixed height above the frozen fish fillet. 7. The method according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the step of operating the water jet (304) comprises adapting the advancing speed of the high water jet to the thickness of the fish fillets.

8. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the fish fillets are stationary during cutting and are maintained fixed. 9. The method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the fish fillets are being advanced by a conveyor means (508, 509) during cutting.

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the conveyor means comprises a first conveyor (508) and a second conveyor (509) arranged end-to-end such that a slit is formed there between, and where the cutting is performed using high pressure water jet positioned above the slit such that the cutting plane extends through the slit.

11. The method according to any of the claims 2 to 10, wherein the water jet is attached to a moving means and is configured to be moved in a two dimensional x-y plane parallel to a support surface of the fish fillets, or in a three x-y-z plane.

12. A system for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, the system comprising:

- imaging means (201 , 1141 ) for obtaining image data of the fish fillets,

- processing means (202, 1142) for processing the obtained image data,

- a control unit (203, 1142),

- a cutting means (204, 1104) controlled by the control unit for cutting the fish fillets based on pre-defined criteria,

wherein the cutting is performed based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet

13. The system according to claim 12, wherein the cutting means comprises a high pressure water jet.

14. The system according to claim 12, wherein the imaging means is selected from:

• at least one laser positioned above and/or sidewise to the fish fillets for emitting a laser beam onto the fish fillets and the light reflected from the fish fillets is captured by a camera and the resulting image date is processed by the processing means, the processed image data including three dimensional profile of the fish fillets,

• an X-ray apparatus where the obtained image data are X-ray data are processed by the processing means to obtain image indicating the profile of the product and/or the thickness of the product and/or information about e.g. the bone structure and any types of undesired tissues.

15. The system according to claims 13 or 14, wherein the high pressure water jet is mounted to a moving means and where processing by the processing means the obtained image data comprises determining surface height profiles for the fish fillets and where the surface height profiles are utilized in operating the high pressure water jet, where operating the high pressure water jet includes one or more of the following:

moving the high pressure water jet during cutting such that it follows the surface height profile of the frozen fish fillet and is positioned at a fixed height above the frozen fish fillet, and/or adapting the advancing speed of the high water jet to the thickness of the fish fillets.

Description:
A METHOD FOR AUTOMATICALLY PROCESSING FISH FILLETS WHEN THEY ARE IN A FROZEN STATE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and a system for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in frozen state.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is common to catch e.g. haddock and cod and process such catch on board factory trawlers. On such trawlers, in many cases, the fish are slaughtered, beheaded, bleeded, gutted, further processed and frozen. When they are landed they are thawed, filleted, cut in portions and frozen again. The fish meat quality decreases by this thawing and refreezing, and hence the trade price for such fish at landing is fixed on that basis.

To avoid such "double freezing" the fileting can be done on board and frozen fillets can be cut into portions at shore by using e.g. band saw. On average the price difference from single frozen to double frozen fillets is 20 %.

The disadvantage of sawing the frozen fish is twofold, one is that the sawing process which is performed manually is dangerous and expensive, and the second is that saw dust is difficult to control and often lands on the portions which influences the appearance in negative direction.

To avoid the dangerous manual sawing process, the portioning can be done on board prior to freezing. This however creates another problem, namely that the portion size, that the market requests, has to be known at that time, and in most cases it is not, hence maybe the sizes of the portions are not attractive, when they reach the market, and that also influences the price - negatively.

The inventor of the present invention has appreciated that there is thus a need for an improved way of processing fish fillets and has in consequence devised the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It would be advantageous to achieve an improved and safe way of processing frozen fish fillets where the quality of the processing may be highly improved as well as the yield. In general, the invention preferably seeks to mitigate, alleviate or eliminate one or more of the above mentioned disadvantages singly or in any combination. In particular, it may be seen as an object of the present invention to provide a method and an apparatus for processing frozen fish fillets that solves the above mentioned problems, or other problems, of the prior art.

To better address one or more of these concerns, in a first aspect of the invention a method is provided for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, the method comprising:

- obtaining image data of the fish fillets,

- processing the obtained image data,

- cutting the fish fillets based on pre-defined criteria,

wherein the cutting is performed based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet.

Accordingly, the processing of the frozen fish fillets is fully automatized and thus the manually processing of the fillets using e.g. circular cutting blades or band saws is no longer needed. Thus, the risk of injuries is eliminated in case the processing is performed while the fish fillet are frozen state.

Also, there is no need to thaw the fish fillet prior to being processed and subsequently refreezing them again, which reduces the quality of the fish fillets.

The cutting based on the pre-defined criteria, which may also be considered as a dynamic cutting since it is based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet, may include cutting the frozen fish fillets into portions, e.g. of fixed weight and/or of fixed length and/or having a pre-defined shape. This may include cutting across the fish fillets, i.e.

perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the fish fillets, and/or parallel to the longitudinal axis, and/or form any angle compared to the longitudinal axis.

The pre-defined criteria may also include cutting around or on both sides of the row of pin bones of the fish fillets and/or cutting and removing undesired tissues from the fish fillets.

The fish fillets may as an example be any type of fish species, such as, but not limited to, cod, salmon, Alaska pollock. The fish may e.g. after catch on board on factory trawlers be slaughtered, bleeded, beheaded, gutted, filleted and then frozen as fish fillets and maybe skinned, where the fish may e.g. be only few minutes old. The fish fillets may also, prior to freezing on board of the vessel, be processed/divided into e.g. loin, belly flap, belly tail, and/or also the pin bone parts may be removed, and/or a trimming process may be performed where e.g. fat layers are removed. Thus, the fact that e.g. the portion size may not yet be know from potential customers, it may be beneficial to make as much processing as possible on board of the vessel.

The image data of the fish fillets may be obtained by any type of imaging means know to a skilled person in the art, such as, but not limited to, a digital camera, a laser source that may be positioned above the product and/or sidewise for emitting a laser beam onto the fish fillets where the reflected light, which may form a kind of a light stripe, is utilized in obtaining an three dimensional image profile of the fish fillets, e.g. via digital camera.

The image data may also be obtained using an X-ray apparatus where the obtained image data are X-ray data that may be processed to obtain image indicating the profile of the product, and/or the thickness of the product, and/or information about e.g. the bone structure and/or any types of undesired tissues.

The cutting may be done by any type of cutting means such as any type of cutting blades such a circular cutting blade, involute cutting blade, band saw blade, and the like.

In one embodiment, the cutting is performed using high pressure water jet.

In one embodiment, the step of processing the obtained image data comprises determining surface height profiles for the fish fillets and where the surface height profiles are utilized in operating the high pressure water jet. The surface height profile may indicate the complete surface height profile based on the obtained image data.

In an embodiment, the step of operating the water jet comprises moving the high pressure water jet during cutting such that it follows the surface height profile of the frozen fish fillet and is positioned at a fixed height above the fish fillet. This fixed height may be selected as the most optimal operation height, preferably as close as possible above the fish fillet, such that the cut, both at the side facing the high pressure water jet and also at the distal side of the high pressure water jet (i.e. the side resting on a support surface), is as smooth as possible. Also, selecting this operation height is of course based on that the cut reaches through the fish fillet at all times.

Also, by maintaining the high pressure water jet at the fixed height above the fish fillets, preferably as close as possible to the fish fillets, the width of the water beam is narrow and thus the cut will be more precise and have a better appearance. In one embodiment, the step of operating the high pressure water jet comprises adapting the advancing speed of the water jet to the thickness of the fish fillets. Accordingly, the thinner the area of the fish fillets is the faster may the advancing speed be, i.e. the movement of the high pressure water jet, and vice versa, the thicker the fish fillets the slower is the advancing speed. Thus, when e.g. cutting at the tail part the high pressure water jet may be moved faster compared to if the loin is being cut.

It should be noted that the speed and/or height may be variable and adapted to e.g. the part that is being cut. As an example, if the processed image shows that there a tissue/bones etc. that is more difficult to cut than the fish meet, then the advancing speed of the high pressure water jet and/or the height is adjusted accordingly.

In one embodiment, the fish fillets are stationary during cutting and are maintained fixed. Any type of means may be implemented to maintain the fish fillets stationary, e.g. any type of clamps, one or more belt hold-down (one or more belts above), or guides and the like may be used to maintain it fixed.

In another embodiment, the fish fillets are being advanced by a conveyor means during cutting. The conveyor means may e.g. comprise a steel belt and the like to be able to tolerate the impact from the high pressure water jet.

The conveyor means may also comprise a single or solid thin conveyor belt where via a bypass loop a slit is defined and where the high pressure water jet or any other type of cutting means is positioned directly above the slit such that the cutting plane passes through the slit at all times so as to prevent the conveyor belt from being cut. Such a bypass loop may be formed by e.g. having two sides by side and parallel rollers positioned below the conveyor belt and arranged perpendicular to the conveyor direction, and at least one roller positioned between and below the two rollers, whereby the conveyor belt is extended around the at least three rollers such that a U-shaped like loop is formed, where the opening of the U-shaped like loop defines the slit. Moreover, these three (or more) rollers, which may be considered as being idle rollers, may be mounted to a moving mechanism that may be operable to move them back and forth parallel to the conveying direction, during cutting where the cutting plane of the high pressure water jet (or any other type of cutting means) passes through the slit at all times.

The slit may also be defined by placing two conveyors in an end-to-end arrangement, e.g. by few millimeters slit to apart the two conveyors is defined. The conveyor belt may include a plurality of spikes for holding the fish fillets during cutting, i.e. prevent e.g. any side-wise displacement or any other displacement during cutting.

In one embodiment, the two end-to-end conveyors are positioned at different heights, where the downstream located conveyor may be positioned e.g. few millimeters or centimeters below the upstream located conveyor of said two conveyors. This facilitates breaking up the processed fish fillet, e.g. the cut portions such that they don't freeze together. In another embodiment, the downstream conveyor may temporarily, after each cut, be running at a higher speed to facilitate the separation of e.g. the cut portions. The speed of the conveyors is preferably the same while the cutting takes place.

In one embodiment, the water jet is attached to a moving means and is configured to be moved in a two dimensional x-y plane parallel to a support surface of the fish fillets, or in a three x-y-z plane. As an example, the high pressure water jet may be slideable mounted to at least one guide means, e.g. a rail guide, that may be operated by a control unit that, based on the obtained image date, moves the high pressure water along one or two dimensions, e.g. across and/or along the fish fillet.

The high pressure water jet may also be attached to means for adjusting the tilting angle of the water jet and thus it may be utilized to adjust the angle of the cut. This means may as an example comprise a robotic or robotic-like system that moves it in at least one degree of freedom, where additionally a tilting movement may be provided to adjust the angle of the cut so that it is not necessarily perpendicular to a carrying surface on which the fish fillets are resting.

The moving means may also be configured to maintain the high pressure water jet at fixed height above the fish fillets as already discussed.

In one embodiment, the fish fillets are weighed by e.g. any type of weighing means, e.g. any type of scale, that may positioned upstream in relation to the imaging means, where the density for individual fish fillet, i.e. ratio between the weight and the volume, may be determined and used as input when cutting the fish fillets into e.g. fixed portions, using also the three dimensional image profile of the fish fillets.

The density for the individual fish fillet may also be determined using the X-ray apparatus of e.g. dual energy type, where the obtained X-ray data is used in determining the weight distribution of the individual fish fillets. This gives the possibility of determine a density distribution for each individual fish fillet and thus more accurately cutting the fish fillets into portions since the density within the individual fish fillets may vary.

In another embodiment, the density may be given a fixed value that may e.g. be manually entered.

In a second aspect of the invention, the invention relates to a system for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, the system comprising:

- imaging means for obtaining image data of the fish fillets,

- processing means for processing the obtained image data,

- a control unit,

- a cutting means controlled by the control unit for cutting the fish fillets based on predefined criteria,

wherein the cutting is performed based on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet.

In one embodiment, the cutting means comprises a high pressure water jet.

In one embodiment, the imaging means is selected from:

• at least one laser positioned above and/or sidewise to the fish fillets for emitting a laser beam onto the fish fillets and where the light reflected from the fish fillets is captured by a camera and the resulting image data is processed by the processing means, the processed image data including three dimensional profile of the fish fillets,

· an X-ray apparatus where the obtained image data are X-ray data are processed by the processing means to obtain image indicating the profile of the product and/or the thickness of the product and/or information about e.g. the bone structure and any types of undesired tissues.

In one embodiment, the high pressure water jet is mounted to a moving means and where processing by the processing means the obtained image data comprises determining surface height profiles for the fish fillets and where the surface height profiles are utilized in operating the high pressure water jet, where operating the high pressure water jet includes one or more of the following:

moving the high pressure water jet during cutting such that it follows the surface height profile of the frozen fish fillet and is positioned at a fixed height above the frozen fish fillet, and/or adapting the advancing speed of the high water jet to the thickness of the fish fillets. In one embodiment the system further comprises a top belt comprising a plurality of spikes for providing a downward force onto the fish fillet during cutting. The top belt may be rotatable driven such that it follows the moving direction and speed of the fish fillets.

Moreover, the top belt may be mounted in a flexible way, in a kind of a hinge like manner, such that it in a way is resting on the fish fillet and follows the surface height profile. In an idle position, i.e. in the absence of the fish fillet, the top belt lower end may be at some height above the conveyor but at a height from the conveyor being less than the thinnest part of the fish fillet so as to ensure that it engages with the fish fillet.

In general the various aspects of Hie invention may be combined and coupled in any way possible within the scope of the invention. These and other aspects, features and/or advantages of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will be described, by way of example only, with reference to the drawings, in which

figures 1 shows a flowchart of one embodiment of a method according to the present invention for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, figure 2 shows one embodiment of a system according to the present invention for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state, and

figure 3 shown one embodiment of operating the high pressure water jet when cutting the fish fillets based on a pre-defined criteria,

figure 4 depicts another scenario of cutting the fish fillet based on pre-defined criteria, figure 5 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of a system according to the present invention for automatically processing a fish fillet when it is in a frozen state,

figure 6 shows where a high pressure water jet shown in figure 5 exerts primarily with a downwardly pointing force onto the fish fillet causing spikes in a conveyor belt acting as a support for the fish fillet to partly penetrate into the fish fillet and thus prevent it from moving during cutting,

figure 7a-c shows an embodiment of the system in figure 5,

figure 8a-b shows a cross sectional view of one embodiment of a means or a supporting means for providing an additional support for the fish fillets stationary during cutting while the fish fillet is being conveyed,

figure 9a-b shows another embodiment of the system as shown in figure 5, figure 10 is a zoomed up from the three rollers shown in figure 9, and

figure 11 shown one embodiment of a system according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Figures 1 shows a flowchart of one embodiment of a method according to the present invention for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state.

In step (SI) 101, image data of the fish fillets is obtained. The image data may as an example be obtained using any type of imaging means know to a skilled person in the art, such as, but not limited to, a laser source that emits a laser beam onto the fish fillets where the reflected light, which may form a kind of a light stripe, is detected by a camera. The imaging means may also comprise an X-ray apparatus where the obtained image data is X-ray data.

In step (S2) 102, the image data is processed. Referring to the example above, in the former case the processing may e.g. include detecting by the camera the light that is reflected from the fish fillets and processing the detected light for determining a three dimensional profile of the fish fillets. The processing may also include estimating the weight distribution of the fish fillets based on the three dimensional profile when e.g. cutting it into fixed portions.

Also, by weighing the fish fillets by e.g. any type of scale positioned upstream in relation to the imaging means, the density, i.e. ration between the weight and the volume, may be determined and used as input when cutting the fish fillets into e.g. fixed portions.

The density may also be estimated by assuming a fixed density factor

(weight/volume).

The weight of the individual fish fillets may also be determined using the X-ray apparatus of e.g. dual energy type, where it is possible to determine the weigh profile for the individual fish fillet and thus the density profile for the individual fish fillet.

In the latter case the processing may include utilizing the X-ray data in determining the thickness of the fish fillets and/or determine the bone structure of the fish fillets and/or any type of undesired tissues to be removed. The X-ray data may also processed for determining the weight the fish fillets and/or the density distribution of the fish fillets. In step (S3) 103, the fish fillets are cut where the cutting is performed based on predefined criteria and on the obtained image data for the individual fish fillet. The pre-defined criteria may include cutting the frozen fish fillets into portions, e.g. of fixed weight and/or of fixed length and/or having a pre-defined shape, where in this case the three dimensional profile or weight distribution is utilized as operation parameters. The portions may include cutting across the fish fillets, i.e. perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the fish fillets, and/or parallel to the longitudinal axis, and/or form any angle compared to the longitudinal axis. The pre-defined criteria may also include cutting around or on both sides of the row of pin bones of the fish fillets and/or cutting and removing undesired tissues from the fish fillets.

In one embodiment, step (S2) 102 of processing comprises determining surface height profiles for the fish fillets and where the surface height profiles are utilized in operating the cutting means which may be a high pressure water jet. This will be discussed in more details later in connection with figure 3.

Figure 2 shows one embodiment of a system 200 according to the present invention for automatically processing fish fillets when the fish fillets are in a frozen state. The system comprises imaging means (I_M) 201, processing means (P) 202, a control unit (C_U) 203 and a cutting means (C M) 204.

The imaging means may, include at least one laser source for emitting a light beam onto the fish fillets for obtaining the surface height profile, where a camera captures the reflected light and where the processing includes processing the captured light to obtain the surface height profile of the fish fillets.

The imaging means may also include an X-ray apparatus where the X-ray data are processed to determine e.g. the profile, shape, thickness etc. and/or the bone structure of the fish fillets.

In one embodiment, the processed image data include determining the surface height profile of the fish fillets.

As will be discussed in more details below, the control unit (C_U) 203 utilizes the processed image data, e.g. the surface height profile, in controlling the cutting means (C M) 204.

Figure 3 shown one embodiment of system according to the present invention where the cutting means is a high pressure water jet 304, and where the image data discussed in relation to figures 1 and 2 are used as input in operating the high pressure water jet 304 when cutting the fish fillets based on a pre-defined criteria as already discussed in figure 1. In the embodiment shown here, a surface height profile 302 of the fish fillet 301 is determined and used as input data for the control unit in figure 2 to operate the high pressure water jet 304.

The surface height profile 302 may among other tilings indicate how the thickness of a given fish fillet 301 where a cut is to be performed varies. This surface height profile may be utilized by the control unit in figure 2 to operate the high pressure water jet 304 by means of e.g. maintaining the high pressure water jet at fixed optimal height d from the fish fillet such that the cut has the best appearance. This may be few millimeters up to e.g. few centimeters, but the distance d may be selected such that the cut on both sides of the fish fillet, i.e. facing the high pressure water jet 304 and at the opposite side, is as smooth as possible. In one embodiment the speed of the high pressure water jet 304 may be maintained constant during cutting, where the speed may be selected such that the cut extends through the fish fillet 301 at all times.

In the embodiment shown here, the surface height profile 302 may also be used as input in adjusting the speed Vi of the high pressure water jet 304 such that at the thickest part of the fish fillet 301 the speed VI may be lowest to obtain a cut through the fish fillet 301. As the thickness decreases the speed of the high pressure water jet may be increased, or as shown in tins example, the thickness successively increases and thus the speeds V2-V5 of the high pressure water jet 304 successively decrease as shown in the speed profile 305.

It should be noted that the speed and/or height of the high pressure water jet may be variable and adapted to e.g. the part that is being cut. As an example, if the processed image shows that there a tissue/bones etc. that is more difficult to cut than the fish meat, then the speed of the high pressure water jet and/or the height may be adjusted accordingly.

The high pressure water jet 304 may be slideable attached to guiding means, rails and the like (not shown), that allows e.g. the high pressure water jet to move e.g. along x-axis and z- axis. An additional dimension may obviously be included, i.e. the y-direction.

The high pressure water jet 304 may also be operated by a robotic arm (not shown) based on the surface height profile 302 where two or more degrees of freedom may be achieved, e.g. including tilting the high pressure water jet 304.

Figure 4 depicts another scenario of cutting the fish fillet 301 based on pre-defined criteria, where in this embodiment the high pressure water cutter 304 is positioned at a fixed height z from a supporting surface, e.g. a conveyor, and may move at least in a one dimensional direction x. The height is selected such that it cuts through the fish fillet 301 at all times. The speed of the high pressure water jet may be maintained constant, or it may be varied, e.g. depending on what is being cut, e.g. bones, tissues etc. that may be more difficult to cut through than e.g. the fish meat.

The advantage of maintaining the high pressure water jet at fixed height above the fish fillets as shown in figure 3 is that the width of the water beam is very narrow and thus the cut has a better appearance. As shown in figure 4, the width of the water beam 401 where the height above this fish fillet is much is larger compared to the width 402 where the distance is shortest, but this can be visible in the cut.

However, the embodiment shown here may be considered simple compared to the one shown in figure 3 since figure 4 illustrates one dimensional movement.

Figure 5 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of a system 500 according to the present invention for automatically processing a fish fillet 501 when it is in a frozen state. Although the cutting means shown here is a high pressure water cutter as discussed in relation to figures 3 and 4, the cutting means may just as well comprise a band saw, circular blade saw and the like. The fish fillet is lying on a conveyor means, which may in one embodiment comprise a first conveyor comprising a first conveyor belt 508 and a second conveyor comprising a second conveyor belt 509, where the slit 510 shown may be defined by placing the first and the second conveyors 508, 509 end-to-end such that the cutting plane of the high pressure water jet (or any other type of cutting means) passes through the slit at all times during cutting.

While the processing/cutting takes place, the fish fillet 501 may be moving in a conveying direction indicated by arrow 506, or the fish fillet 501 may be temporarily stop during cutting.

The conveyor belt(s) 508, 509 comprise a plurality of spikes 507 configures to prevent the fish fillet 501 to move e.g. sidewise during cutting.

This is illustrated in figure 6 showing where the high pressure water jet exerts primarily with a downwardly pointing force Fl, where this downward pointing force Fl presses the fish fillet 501 towards the spikes 507 causing the spikes 507 to partly penetrate into the fish fillet during cutting and thus provide the forces opposite to the cutting direction needed to maintain the fish fillet 501 stationary during cutting, i.e. prevent sidewise movement. A side force F2 may also be created from the high pressure water jet, where the spike 507 provide equal opposite forces F3 for preventing the fish fillet 501 from moving in the moving direction of the high pressure water jet.

Figure 7a-c shows on embodiment of figure 5 where the first conveyor 708 and the second conveyor 709 are positioned at different heights, e.g. few millimeters up to few centimeters, and where the cutting means, e.g. the high pressure water jet, is positioned directly above the slit 710.

Figure 7a shows where a fish fillet 701 in frozen state is conveyed in a conveying direction as indicated by the arrow.

Figure 7b shows where the water beam 712 from the high pressure water jet cuts through the fish fillet.

Figure 7c shows where the resulting cut piece 711 falls from the remaining part of the fish fillet, and where the height difference facilitates that the cut piece 711 falls from the remaining part of the fish fillet.

Figure 8a-b shows a cross sectional view of one embodiment of a means or a supporting means 819 for providing an additional support for the fish fillets stationary during cutting while the fish fillet is being conveyed by a conveyor means (not shown) in a direction as indicated by 822 (out of plane), i.e. preventing the fish fillet 801 from moving during cutting.

As shown, the supporting means 819 comprises a flexible support 820 made e.g. of any type of deformable material and where a plurality of spikes 821 are pointing outwards there from towards the fish fillet 801.

The supporting means may be mounted to a moving means (not shown) that moves it towards the fish fillet as indicated by the arrow before the cutting is started (see figure 8a).

Moreover, the supporting means is connected a moving means, e.g. any types of rails, guides, and the like, which may be integrated into said moving means, for moving it in the same direction 822 with the same speed as the conveying speed of the fish fillet 801 so that the fish fillet is not being slowed down during this process.

Figure 8b shows where the supporting means 819 adapts to the surface profile of the fish fillet 801 such that the spikes 821 partly enter the upper surface of the fish fillet 801.

After performing the last cut on the fish fillet 801 the supporting means is moved up again.

Figure 9a-b shows another embodiment of the system as shown in figure 5 where the slit 910 is formed using a single solid thin conveyor belt 908, 909 via a bypass loop, e.g. similar as shown in WO2013132068 in e.g. figures 1-19 and p. 4 1. 13-p. 28 1. 14, hereby incorporated by reference. As shown here, the bypass loop is formed by having two side by side and parallel rollers 930, 932 positioned below the conveyor belt and arranged perpendicular to the conveyor direction indicated by the arrow. At least one roller 931 (may also e.g. be two or more) is positioned between and below the two rollers 930, 932, where the single conveyor belt 908, 909 is extended around the at least three (or more) rollers 930-932 such that a U- shaped like loop is formed where the slit may be considered as being the opening of the U. These rollers may all be simple idle rollers.

The rollers 930-932and the high pressure water jet 904 may be mounted to a frame structure such that the cutting plane always intersects with the slit, similar as shown in WO2013132068 in e.g. figure 1 and 26 hereby incorporated by reference, for allowing the rollers and the high pressure water jet to move parallel to the conveyor in case e.g. incline cuts are needed.

Figure 10 is a zoomed up from the three rollers shown in figure 9.

Figure 11 shows one embodiment of a system 1100 according to the present invention comprising an imaging means 1140 for obtaining image data 1141 of fish fillet 1104 that is being conveyed by a conveyor in a conveying direction as indicated by the arrow. The conveyor shown here comprises a conveyor belt 1108 that may comprise a plurality of spikes (not shown). The image data is processed by a processor comprised in a computer system 1142 that may also be acting as a control unit and where the processed data is used as operation data 1143 in operating the high pressure water jet 1104 shown here.

Different embodiments of e.g. the cutting means, the imaging means etc. have already been discussed in the previous figures.

Also shown here is the slit formed via two side by side arranged rollers 1130, 1132 and a third roller 1131 positioned there below, preferably such that the impact from the water beam intersects with the roller 1131.

The system 1100 shown here further comprises a top belt 1150 that may be provided with a plurality of spikes 1151 for engaging with the fish fillet and providing a downward force onto the fish fillet 1104 during cutting. The top belt 1150 may be rotatable driven as indicated by the curved arrow or it's rotation may follow with the movement of the fish fillet.

Moreover, the top belt 1150 may be mounted in a flexible way, in a kind of a hinge like manner, such mat it is in a way resting on the fish fillet 1104 and follows the surface height profile. In an idle position, i.e. in the absence of the fish fillet, the top belt 1150 lower end may be at some height above the conveyor 1108 but at a height from the conveyor being less than the thinnest part of the fish fillet 1104 so as to ensure that it engages with the fish fillet 1104 and all other fish fillets at all times.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, such illustration and description are to be considered illustrative or exemplary and not restrictive; the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.