SpecTUNA could revolutionize the canned tuna industry by automating and optimizing raw material preparation steps

The SpecTUNA project, “Automated modular system for the cutting and sorting of frozen tuna using hyperspectral characterization”, will combine various technologies such as advanced robotics and hyperspectral vision technology for the automation of frozen tuna positioning, cutting and sorting processes. The project is part of the call for demonstration projects for a Sustainable Blue Economy of the European Commission’s FEMP program and has a contribution of just over €1.1 million, equivalent to 65% of the overall budget.

 SpecTUNA focuses on the design of a robotic cell that brings together several enabling technologies within the scope of Industry 4.0. This sensorized robot will allow to autonomously extract pieces of frozen fish up to 10 kg from a container, where they are randomly placed. Once the robot has selected the raw material, it will proceed to cut off the head and tail, and then classify it using hyperspectral vision technology measurement parameters, such as the amount of fat, salt, protein or moisture. In this way, the fish can be sorted flexibly and accurately with a view to downstream production processes.


Power supply
Advanced robotics
Hyperspectral vision

Technological Centre





In 2017, more than 4.7 million tons of tuna were caught worldwide. If we talk about the production of canned and prepared tuna, the world production in 2016 (latest FAO data available) was more than 2 million tons and in the EU this figure reached 19% of the world production of canned and prepared tuna, with Spain occupying a prominent role. The growing demand for this type of food also means that the European market for food processing machinery is booming.


In this context, the development of the SpecTUNA project will revolutionize the canned tuna industry by automating and optimizing all the preparatory stages of the raw material, such as the cutting and classification of frozen tuna, allowing, in addition, a non-destructive analysis piece by piece, improving the quality control capacity. This represents a disruptive leap in the current industry and contributes to increasing the competitiveness of the European canned fish sector, which is mainly made up of SMEs, and to positioning it better against competitors such as Thailand.