Robotics help Marine Harvest seize Pallets Opportunity

Robotics help Marine Harvest seize Pallets Opportunity

Food producer Marine Harvest builds 10,000 airline pallets a year and supplies all the main airlines serving Oslo Airport Gardemoen, Norway, after opening a new facility.

Marine Harvest is Norway’s largest food producer and the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon. The company is represented in 23 countries, has a total of 12 000 employees and its turnover in 2015 was NOK27.9 billion (USD3.6 billion).

The company’s operations cover the entire value chain from the sea to the plate. The head office is located in Bergen, Norway, and the company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.


Through its vision ‘Leading the blue revolution’, Marine Harvest has the ambition to be the leading provider of healthy, sustainable seafood.

The Marine Harvest terminal and logistic head office, which is located close to Oslo Airport, was established in 2009. The terminal has 60 employees and handled around 130,000 tons of salmon last year. The facility is cooled and is handling both trucking to Europe and airfreight overseas. The airfreight handling includes the building of airline pallets on behalf of handling companies or through direct contracts with the airlines.

“We realized, upon the planning of the terminal in 2008, that we could benefit from building the airline pallets with a robot. Each box is the same size with approximately the same weight on standardized wooden pallets from our factories” said Tom Mikkelsen, Head of Airfreight as well as a member of TIACA’s Shippers’ Advisory Committee.

The wooden pallet has 27 boxes with three boxes in each layer, and the factories are using several robots in the building of the wooden pallets, lifting one box at the time. Building the airline pallets is more challenging and required a project with Intek Engineering. It was soon realized that more equipment than just a robot was needed.

Production robot

It ended up with a complete production robot including roller-beds for wooden pallets and airline pallets with the following features:

  • Automatic feeding of wooden pallets on roller-beds
  • A robot lifting whole layers — three boxes — at a time from the wooden pallets using a vacuum
  • Two platforms with roller-beds and weights for the airline pallets
  • Vacuum-lifters to move the empty airline pallets into position
  • Automatic pallet-stacker for the empty wooden pallets
  • A program available for the different airline contours and airline pallets
  • Software handling the weights, printing pallet tags and manifests

The robot can produce a lower deck pallet (161 boxes) within 15 minutes. The finished set-up has been producing around 10,000 pallets per year and has been working according to plan.

It is now building airline pallets for all the major airlines serving Oslo Airport Gardermoen with freighters or wide bodies.

*Robotics is one of the technological innovations mentioned in TIACA’s Shippers’ Advisory Committee White Paper, published earlier this year. To view the White Paper in full, visit

Leave a Reply