Project Description

SpecTUNA Project

Technological centre: ANFACO – CECOPESCA
Sector: Sea-Industry
Clients and/or partners: ANFACO-CECOPESCA (leader); EMENASA Industria y Automatismo; INFAIMON Visao Artificial; La Góndola.
Start and end date: Jan de 2019- 31 de Dec de2021
Call for proposals: FEMP
R+D+i area: Flexible and collaborative robotics; monitoring and control of products and processes; process engineering and conservation technologies


The SpecTuna project “Automated modular system for cutting and classifying frozen tuna using hyperspectral characterisation”, will combine different technologies, such as advanced robotics and hyperspectral vision technology to automate the processes for the positioning, cutting and classification of frozen tuna.  This project is being developed under the call for demonstrational projects for a Sustainable Blue Economy, which is funded by the European Commission’s EMFF (European Maritime and Fisheries Fund), and which has contributed slightly over €1.1 million, equivalent to 65% of the overall budget for this project.


SpecTUNA focuses on designing a robotic cell that brings together several enabling technologies within the scope of industry 4.0. By using this sensorised robot, it will be possible to extract pieces of frozen fish of up to 10 kg in weight from a container, where they are located at random. Once the robot has selected the raw material, it will then cut off the head and tail before using hyperspectral vision technology to classify the produce using parameters such as the amount of fat, salt, protein or moisture. This enables the fish to be classified in a flexible and exact manner to prepare them for the subsequent production processes.


In the year 2017, more than 4.7 million tonnes of tuna fish were landed worldwide. According to the FAO’s most recent data, more than 2 million tonnes of canned tuna and other tuna products were produced in 2016, with the EU’s production accounting for 19% of the total global production with Spain playing a leading role. The growing demand for these types of products has resulted in the continued growth of the European market of food processing machinery.

In this context, the SpecTUNA project will revolutionise the canned tuna industry, making it possible for all of the preparatory stages to be automated and optimised. These preparatory stages include the cutting and classification of the frozen tuna, and the non-destructive, one-by-one analysis of the produce to improve the quality control capacity.  This represents a considerable disruption in the current industry. It is anticipated that it will help increase the competitiveness of the European canned fish sector, a sector formed predominantly by SMEs, and it will also put it in a much better position against competitors such as Thailand.