Innovation is and has always been at the heart of Marel. We invest around 6% of revenues in research and development annually, which translated into EUR 58 million in 2017. With over 20 solutions introduced to the market in 2017, it is safe to say that innovation is simply in the DNA of our people. Our experts are relentless in their efforts to meet the next challenge in the market with an effective solution.

We have over 700 dedicated technology professionals in 9 countries, working in partnership with our key customers to change the way food is processed. People are our greatest asset in driving innovation: it is all about their mindset. You have to be creative, passionate and brave.

Data analytics and software control are becoming increasingly important. Our approach to innovation is not limited to mechanical engineering but also encompasses integrated technologies and connectivity. From the start, we have bundled software and equipment together.

Today, Marel is the focal point of information gathering for one of the most important value chains in the world.


Keeping ahead of trends

At Marel, we analyze current trends and anticipate processing challenges as part of staying informed of the market conditions and changes in the industries we serve. Key trends that will continue to characterize the food processing industry in coming years are the emphases on productivity and process optimization, together with demands for food safety and sustainability. We work on these issues daily by putting our extensive product know-how and processing skills to work to provide the innovative solutions our customers need.

Strategic focus

Innovation strategically focuses on three key areas: new product development, modernization of existing product lines and creating a common core technical platform for Marel.

Marel’s development of new products creates breakthrough innovations to meet the challenges facing customers. In addition to new equipment and solutions, product upgrades and incremental additions to existing machines and systems make sure our equipment stays competitive. We also focus on modularization and standardization as drivers to maximize synergies available across the company. To that end, we are committed to collaborative innovation with our customers and partners to ensure our products add value in a way that suits their specific needs.

Product launches 2017

In 2017, we released over 20 products onto the market. Among these successful product launches are the FleXicut for fish, the ATLAS live bird handling system, AMF-I and the Thigh Fillet System for poultry.

In poultry the RoboBatcher is intelligently connected to the I-Cut in the award-winning concept: ‘The robot with a knife’. The RoboBatcher Flex is a highly flexible system for automated fixed-weight batching and tray styling of poultry fillets. Designed for high throughput and accuracy, the RoboBatcher Flex can batch and style up to 300 fillets per minute depending on the version and keep giveaway to a minimum.

The Robobatcher Flex has now been made available for fish, while the leading SensorX technology has been reinforced by adding SmartSort to its system for better handling of downstream products.

The newly launched DeboFlex automatic deboning system has set a new standard in the meat industry. A large proportion of the time spent on deboning in a pace line is currently used for turning and moving products around. By reducing this handling time DeboFlex increases the actual cutting time and boosts yield.

Another new release was the I-cut 130 PortionCutter, a next-generation portioning machine. This new system provides superior programming flexibility and a variety of specialized cutting patterns. It guarantees consistently superior accuracy and optimum usage of raw materials, resulting in high-quality products with maximum return on investment.

Product-focused innovation hubs

R&D is organized around three innovation hubs, each of which has its own specific technology and industry focus while also capitalizing on the synergies between product groups. Our experts draw on their different educational backgrounds and field experience to reach the best results.  Marel empowers its employees by fostering teamwork and connections between the different hubs, providing training and good facilities, tools and equipment to work with.

Product focus
Netherlands & US
Further processing
Cross industry products
Cross industry products
Iceland & UK
Cross industry products

Creating intelligent equipment for the smart factory

From the early days of the digital revolution to the current opportunities opened up by what has been labeled the fourth industrial revolution, Marel has always linked together software and automation to create innovative solutions to food processing challenges.

Marel’s high-tech approach has led the way in using intelligent automation to increase yield, throughput and quality in food processing. In poultry, our recently launched AMF-i is the first intelligent breast filleting system using automatic adaption to breast cap size, resulting in higher yield, capacity and product quality.  

Our sophisticated sorting algorithms have been controlling our graders for decades, while the latest 3D laser vision systems work with advanced software to calculate the best cutting patterns for our automatic portioning systems. Technology is, however, advancing at lightning speed with rising computing power a major catalyst. Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will further transform our industry in the future. In 2017, Marel started to build up the competencies needed to design and integrate use of these technologies in our products.

From one industry to another

Marel is known for applying its technology across industries. In 2017, we continued to leverage our strong innovation investments in one field to successfully develop solutions for other protein product groups, across processes and geographies. SensorX and the RoboBatcher are two great examples of products that were developed for one industry but have been successfully adapted for all of Marel’s industries.

We will continue to realize the synergies available to a company of our scale and scope, delivering innovative products for our customers and creating further growth opportunities. In particular, major opportunities lie in the secondary and further processing parts of the value chain, e.g. portioning, batching, weighing and marinating, where the processing steps become more homogenous across industries.

RoboBatcher Flex

This year we successfully transferred our award winning robotic technology from the poultry sector to fish processing. The RoboBatcher Flex batches fixed-weight products automatically and styles them into retail trays. This ensures maximum batching flexibility and high product utilization with virtually no give-away.


Originally created to detect pinbones in whitefish, the SensorX bone and contaminant detection system has now become a staple in poultry factories around the world, working in tandem with the next generation of quality assurance systems for ground meat and meat trim. The system uses advanced X-ray technology to scan for bones in fish and poultry or analyze fat/lean content in meat.

One global new product development process

New product developments follow a global progression with multi-disciplinary development teams and knowledge-sharing throughout the company.  Solid infrastructure ensures standardization and modularization of our equipment, as well as the proper tools to carry out high-quality engineering.

To take full advantage of the scale of our business, we focus especially on leveraging common technologies across our product portfolio. To this end, we are working towards developing one technical platform for all Marel equipment to run on. This will ensure technical integrity in designing our solutions while at the same time making them more accessible for our customers.