Tuna Canning and Packaging Line: All What You Need to Know

The global canned tuna market has been witnessing significant growth over the years and is expected to continue its upward trajectory. According to a report published by Fortune Business Insights, the global canned tuna market size was USD 10.22 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 14.22 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.18% during the forecast period.

The popularity of canned tuna is primarily driven by factors like its long shelf-life, ease of preparation, and nutritional benefits. Besides, the rising awareness of the nutritional values associated with the consumption of seafood is another substantial factor boosting the global market.

The popularity of canned tuna is due in part to its versatility and nutritional content. It is a great source of high-quality protein with almost no fat. It contains all essential amino acids required by the body for growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. Tuna can be a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, with 150 milligrams or more per 4-ounce serving.

The convenience element also plays a big role in the popularity of canned tuna. It requires no cooking and can be used directly out of the can in salads, sandwiches, pasta, and more, making it a favorite among people leading busy lifestyles.

canned tuna



Preparing Tunas for Packaging Automation Line

Over the past several decades, we have witnessed the world of automation unfurl, penetrating nearly all industrial sectors, overhauling traditional methods, and introducing a new era of efficiency and precision. There could be no better illustration of this remarkable transformation than the intricate processes involved in the tuna canning packaging line. Here, cutting-edge technology fuses with traditional practices to create the perfect interplay between automation and craftsmanship.

In this impressive assembly line, precision-engineered machines handle each tuna with extraordinary delicacy, swiftly transferring it from one phase to the next. Beginning with the meticulous task of cleaning, followed by the intricate details of descaling and then moving to the precision-based filling of fish, oil, or brine, every step witnesses an incredible level of accuracy. The culmination of this automated ballet takes place at the sealing stage, where the cans are methodically sealed under strict quality control. The final product is then ready for distribution worldwide, ensuring that the quality and freshness of the carefully prepared tuna persist from the ocean depths to the store shelf.

The tuna canning process so cogently showcases the application of automation that it could easily be a model for other industries. Each step of the process is designed for optimum productivity, incorporating advanced machinery to carry out tasks with a level of precision unachievable through human endeavor alone. This meticulous orchestration not only amplifies the preservation of the catch’s quality but also mitigates the risk of human error. The ingenious application of automation exponentially increases productivity, ensuring an unbroken chain of high-quality, delicious canned tuna to grace dinner tables worldwide.

canned tunas

Initial Preparations: Thawing and Cleaning

The process starts with the arrival of the frozen tuna at the factory. These blocks of fish are carefully thawed in temperature-controlled chambers, stimulating a natural defrosting process that upholds the quality of the tuna. Once completely thawed, the fish are transported onto conveyors leading to the cleaning machines. These sophisticated machines, equipped with advanced sensors and conveyor belts, work in clock-work precision, ensuring each piece of tuna is cleaned thoroughly. They efficiently remove the unwanted parts such as scales and innards, while preserving the essential parts of the tuna. This is the first major step in the canning process where automated systems play a crucial part in upholding hygiene standards and speeding up product throughput.

Steam Cooking: Precision at Its Finest

After thorough cleaning, the prepared tuna is then transferred to cutting-edge steam cookers. These fully automated cookers, engineered with precision temperature controls, utilize steam to cook the fish. The cleverly moderated temperature ensures that no flavors or nutrients are leached during this process, upholding the organoleptic qualities of the tuna while also making it safe for consumption. This careful cooking procedure results in perfectly cooked fish that maintains its original taste and texture, ready for the canning process.

Automated Cutting: Swift and Accurate

The next procedure in the production line is cutting the cooked tuna into can-sized pieces. This crucial step ensures uniformity in product weight, portion, and overall quality. With the assistance of accurate machine vision systems, the cutting machines are able to gauge the right size for every piece. The automated blades swiftly slice through the tuna with precision, creating pieces that are flawlessly consistent in size. The result is a batch of uniform, can-ready pieces that are weighed to ensure every can of tuna shipped out of the factory holds the same amount, maintaining fair practices and meeting the expectations of the customers.


What are the Packaging Machines Used for a Tuna Canning Packaging Line?

The machines used for a tuna canning line are the embodiment of automation, where each plays a crucial role in the efficient production of high-quality canned tuna.

  • Fish Cleaning and Cutting Machines: These machines are designed to prepare the raw tuna by meticulously cleaning and portioning them into suitably sized pieces before they move ahead in the line. Equipped with innovative technologies like contact-less sensors and swiftly moving conveyor belts, these machines ensure a balance between speed and precision.
  • Steam Cookers: The automated steam cookers are programmed to maintain an exact temperature that delivers the perfect level of cooking. This precise heat control is critical for preserving the natural flavors of the tuna, along with its texture and nutritional content.
  • Portioning Weighing Machine: This machine aids in maintaining standardization across the production line by assuring each individual can has the exact amount of cooked tuna. It is designed with high-precision sensors that manage this task seamlessly, ensuring product uniformity.
  • Rotary Filling Machine: Rotary filling machines streamline the process of filling cans with the pre-weighed tuna. With a fast, circular movement, they fill a high number of cans in a short time, while simultaneously adding additional components such as oil or brine as needed.
  • Exhaust Box and Sterilizer: These machines serve a critical role in product preservation. The exhaust box eliminates air from the cans, and the sterilizer utilizes intense heat to eradicate any remaining bacteria to extend product shelf life.
  • Can Seaming Machine: This machine works like a mechanical artist, meticulously folding the lid onto the can and establishing a firm air-tight seal, ensuring the canned tuna remains fresh and safeguards its quality.
  • Labelling Machine: The role of the labelling machine is to elegantly adorn each can with a label carrying essential product information and branding. Utilizing advanced printing and adhesion technology, the labels are firmly and immaculately affixed to each can.
  • Packing Machines: Serving as the final stage of the canning line, packing machines efficiently arrange multiple cans into boxes or crates, ready for transportation. This process may involve automated palletizing systems for handling larger quantities and preparing them for shipment.

It is through the interplay of these advanced machines that the tuna canning packaging line ensures each can of tuna produced meets the strict quality and quantity requirements, ready to be distributed and enjoyed by consumers globally.

Tuna Can Seamer + Fish Cleaning and Cutting Machines: How Do They Work Together?

Canning tuna is a detailed and meticulous process, the success of which relies heavily on two key components – fish cleaning and cutting machines and can seaming machines. Let’s take a dive into how these highly specialized machines function to ensure we receive high-quality canned tuna.

Firstly, before any canning can take place, the raw tuna must be cleaned and portioned appropriately – roles that are seamlessly carried out by fish cleaning and cutting machines. The raw tuna is either manually loaded, or more commonly, transported into the machine via a conveyor system.

fish cutting machines

Inside the cleaning and cutting machine, the fish undergo an initial cleaning procedure where water jets, brushes, and other cleaning mechanisms scrub away impurities, dirt, and any unpleasant odors. Following this cleaning process, the tuna is ushered to the cutting station where sharp blades or lasers evenly portion the fish, often with the help of integrated sensors that gauge the size, thickness, and weight of each piece. Advanced models can even de-bone the fish during this process. The final product is ejected onto a conveyor, ready for canning.

This takes us to the next critical step in the process – can seaming. Ensuring a secure, impermeable seal is crucial in retaining the product’s freshness and quality while providing protection from external contaminants. The filled cans of tuna are fed into the seaming machine which meticulously folds and flattens the lid’s edge underneath the body of the can, creating a robust seam. This process demands absolute precision and the application of significant pressure to achieve a reliable, leak-proof seal.

tuna can seaming machine

However, accuracy does not end there. Post-seaming, each can is subjected to rigorous quality control checks, with modern machines featuring automated sensors capable of detecting and discarding cans with inadequate or faulty seams. Following these checks, cans with satisfactory seams are then discharged onto another conveyor belt, ready for labeling and packing.

Despite slight variations in the functionality of different models and can sizes, the underlying working principles of fish cleaning and cutting machines, and can seaming machines remain the same. These machines play a vital and constant role in the delivery of high-quality canned tuna products – from the sea to our shelves.


Why tin cans are the most selected option for tuna cans primary packaging?

Tuna has long been packed and preserved in tin cans, a tradition that upholds to this day. One might wonder why. Why is tin the chosen material for the packaging of tuna over other alternatives? From environmental and economic benefits to customer preferences, we delve into why tin cans have stood the test of time in tuna packaging.

Preserving Freshness

The journey begins with the fish’s capture from the sea, which embarks on a path to preserve its freshness. Tin can packaging offers an impressive shelf life, which in turn plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality of canned products such as tuna fish. The natural barriers of a tin can protect the food from atmospheric oxygen and harmful bacteria, which in essence slows down the pace of spoilage and food degradation significantly.

Maintaining Nutritional Quality

Tin cans also do an excellent job in retaining the nutritional quality of tuna. They seal all the health-worthy nutrients in, ensuring consumers receive their healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, selenium, and Vitamin D. This nutritional quality, combined with the convenience and longevity tinned tuna offers, significantly contributes to tin’s popularity in tuna packaging.

Economic Considerations

From an economic perspective, tin cans are relatively cheap, durable, and easy to work with, making them a cost-effective option in the packaging industry. Moreover, given the global demand for canned tuna, the production processes, including fishing, cleaning, cutting, and canning are all designed and optimized for tin cans. This helps in achieving economies of scale, which keeps costs down.

Sustainability Commitments

In terms of sustainability, tin cans triumph as they are 100% recyclable, aligning with the ethos of many environmentally-conscious consumers and brand commitments towards reducing carbon footprints. This factor alone can sway producer and customer preferences towards tin cans, encouraging a cyclical ‘use-recycle’ process.

Customer Preferences

Furthermore, consumers have long associated tuna with tin cans. The familiar packaging symbolizes quality, convenience, and longevity. It’s a packaging format that fits conveniently in pantries, is easy to open, and the contained product is ready to use. Over time, these tin cans have created a comfort level that both producers and consumers find hard to depart from.

In conclusion, the choice of tin cans for tuna packaging is not an arbitrary decision, but a calculated one. This well-engineered marriage of tuna and tin takes into account several factors such as product preservation, economic feasibility, recyclability, and meeting consumer expectations. It is no surprise then that this tradition has remained largely unchallenged by other packaging materials in the tuna industry.


What are the Secondary Packaging Used for Tuna Cans?

The canning process for tuna does not end with sealing the flavorful fish within its primary packaging, the tin can. After that, the cans undergo a secondary packaging process – a critical step for the product’s safe transportation, ease of handling, and effective display on supermarket shelves.

Cardboard or Corrugated Boxes

The main secondary packaging used for canned tuna are cardboard or corrugated boxes. Usually fabricated from strong, recycled fibers, these offer a sturdy, affordable, and environmentally-friendly solution. They are perfect for stacking, which maximizes space during shipping and storage. The boxes are typically designed to hold a specific quantity of cans, such as 24 or 48, creating uniform packages which are optimal for transport and stocking shelves. Additionally, these boxes often carry product information, branding elements, and barcoding for scanning at checkout.

Shrink Wrap Bundles

Another common secondary packaging option for canned tuna is shrink wrap. This is often used for multi-pack canned tuna for retail sale. Several cans are grouped together, and a heat-shrinkable plastic film is applied. When heat is introduced, the film shrinks, securely bundling the cans together. These shrink-wrapped bundles are easy for consumers to handle and also allow for clear visibility of the product.

Palletizing for Bulk Transport

For large scale distribution and shipping, these boxes or shrink-wrap bundles are often assembled and secured on a wooden pallet. Palletizing allows for seamless transport, loading, and unloading with forklifts. This amalgamation of multiple packs not only facilitates ease of handling during transit but also ensures the cans’ safety from potential damages inherent in long-distance logistics.

Trays or Plastic Crates

Some manufacturers make use of reusable or recyclable trays or plastic crates as a secondary packaging option. They provide excellent structural support, protect the cans from mechanical damage, and are perfect for high-stack storage. With an increasing focus on sustainability, more and more companies are exploring this packaging alternative.


Who are the Most Reliable Manufacturers of Tuna Canning Packaging Line?

Processing and packaging tuna is a specialized art requiring robust machinery that can handle the multi-step process to ensure top-quality product is delivered to consumers. The process entails sorting, cleaning, precooking, skinning, canning, retorting (sterilizing), and packaging, and each step requires its own set of highly specialized machinery. Choosing the right equipment plays a pivotal role in maintaining the efficiency and productivity of the process. This article highlights some of the leading and most reliable manufacturers of tuna canning packaging lines globally.

1. JBT Corporation

JBT Corporation is a major player in the food and beverage processing sector, trusted for providing state-of-the-art turnkey solutions for a wide variety of food production lines, including tuna canning. The company offers a broad array of processing technology, enabling each step from the processing of raw tuna to the packaging of the finished product. Their commitment to ensuring quality, compliance with safety standards, focus on sustainability, and efficiency has made JBT a preferred choice for many food processors.

2. GEA Group

Germany-based GEA Group is another significant player, known for its wide assortment of machinery and equipment for food processing. Recognized for its custom solutions for canning and packaging, GEA Group stands out for the consistent quality of their product outcomes. The company’s offerings span every corner of food processing, enabling them to provide end-to-end solutions for their customers, which includes a strong emphasis on waste reduction and energy efficiency.

3. Fortuna Machinery Corp.

Fortuna Machinery Corp is renowned for constructing automatic food production lines, including packaging machinery used in the tuna canning industry. Fortuna’s technology ensures high-speed, efficient canning processes, meeting various can specifications and delivering industry-leading performance. Their commitment to research and development delivers innovative solutions, keeping customers at the forefront of technology.

4. ProMach Inc

As a multi-level solutions provider, ProMach has made valuable contributions to the food and beverage packaging industry. They offer a vast selection of packaging machinery, which includes high-speed tuna canning lines. With an emphasis on precision and speed, their packaging lines can cater to small, medium, and large scale operations. Efficiency, robustness, and exceptional after-sales service are also integral elements of ProMach’s business mission, making them a favorite pick in the industry.

5. Krones AG

A one-stop-shop for packaging and bottling, German-based Krones AG thrives on its ability to provide innovative and integrated machinery solutions. Their turnkey lines for filling beverages and food in cans also extend to packaging equipment like shrink-wrappers and palletizers – ideal fits for a comprehensive tuna canning line. Combined with their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, Krones is a solid choice for forward-thinking businesses.

Choosing the perfect partner for your tuna canning packaging lines requires careful consideration not only of the technological aspects but also of factors such as your production scale, budget, and location. While the abovementioned manufacturers have proven reliable track records, it’s important to do your own comprehensive research and seek expert consultations best suited to your specific needs.

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