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Tuna Processing: product line features

Receiving and sizing

For sizing, bin dumpers empty frozen tuna over a double conveyor belt that runs at two speeds in order to properly feed the Shaker-Aligner. A specially-designed elevator feeds the fish individually into the sizer, which groups the fish into predetermined sizes, up to a maximum weight of ten kilograms. Large fish, weighing in excess of ten kilograms, are collected separately and undergo a cutting process. The tuna are then loaded by size into bins.


Bin dumpers empty the pre-sized fish onto a double-conveyor belt. Large tuna are sent through the cutting line. The smaller sizes are transported intact to the pre-cooking system. The heads and tails are removed from the large fish and they can be cut into loins.

JBT Tuna Processing | Pre-cooking

Cleaning after Pre-cooking

The trays of vacuum-cooled fish are placed on merry-go-round cleaning tables, where the heads, fins and tails are removed manually. Skin and dark meat are removed, producing clean loins ready to pack in cans. The dark meat can be used for high protein Pet food processing.

Yield control

Weight loss due to cooking and cooling, as well as the loss resulting from cleaning can be continuously monitored. Achieved by installing electronic scales (with on-line printers), at the beginning and end of the cleaning process, so that fish weight is automatically recorded.

JBT Tuna Processing | Filling - Yield control

Pre-Cooking and Cooling

The trays of tuna are loaded into racks. When a sufficient number of loaded racks have accumulated, they are moved into a pre-cooker on a chian conveyor belt. The Pre-Cooking/Cooling process is under vacuum, the pre-cooker is equipped with a door at each end and a batch of fish is pre-cooked in live steam for the period of the time appropriate for its size and initial temperature. After cooling , the tuna can be handled by workers at cleaning tables before packaging. The Pre-Cooking and Cooling process is fully controlled by a PC/PLC designed by JBT the LOG-TEC Momentum™ and optimized by TunaCAL™ software.

Filling (Tuna Fillers)

Trays containing the cleaned loins are transferred by a merry-go-round conveyor to the JBT high speed Tuna Filler. The loins are then placed manually onto sanitary feed-belts. High fill weight accuracy is achieved by careful loading of the product onto the feed belts by the operator. These feed-belts work by intermittent movement, ensuring consistent intake of product into the infeed chamber. To adjust the weight and appearance of the final tablet -Mechanical and pneumatic changes - can be made while the machine is running. High production speed achieved by a newly developed mechanism that fills two cans simultaneously at up to 300 cans per minute (speed referred to 3 oz. can size).

JBT Tuna Processing | Oiling, brining and closing

Oiling, brining and closing

The filled cans produced by one or more Tuna Fillers collect on a conveyor belt and are transferred to the vacuum-oiler. During transfer, a small amount of brine is added to each can. The vacuum-oiler is set for a specific can size. It completely vacuumizes the cans, then fills each with oil to a pre-fixed headspace. The vacuum-oiler is synchronized with a closer that shoots a jet of steam across the top of the can, so removing the air from the headspace before sealing. Vacuum-sealed cans maintain a fresh product smell, taste and appearance.

Loaders and Unloaders

The range includes semi- and fully-automatic basket loader/unloader for cans and glass jars as well as automatic equipment for stacking/destacking and loading/unloading of trays to handle plastic containers and pouches. These units are specifically engineered to achieve high throughput and maximum reliability for all container handling.

JBT Tuna Processing | Sterilization process

Can sterilization

The Steam Water Spray™ process is an efficient, fast and homogeneous sterilization process with air overpressure. Direct steam injection ensures fast and uniform come-up. Intensely mixed steam and water sprays, result in homogeneous temperature distribution. Indirect, sterile cooling over a plate heat exchanger saves water, water treatment chemicals and energy. The final step of the whole process is Micro Cooling, a controlled and gentle transition from sterilization to cooling that avoids thermal shock or uncontrolled pressure drop.

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