Chicken processors latch on to automation of lines

By Alyson Magee

- Last updated on GMT

UK poultry processors are to follow the EU's lead on automation
UK poultry processors are to follow the EU's lead on automation

Related tags United kingdom Overall equipment effectiveness Bird

The UK may be leaving the EU, yet the poultry-processing sector is following the lead of its European neighbours by embracing automation. 

For Marel, which supplies the Stork line of equipment, the UK and Ireland markets have been buoyant.

“There was a big drive behind high-speed lines last year, and this year has been very positive as well,”​ says Jeff Donald, Stork account manager for UK & Ireland. “We have a very healthy pipeline.”

Marel Poultry showcased its latest innovations in the sector, all aimed at enhancing end product quality, at EuroTier 2016 in Hannover, Germany last month.

The new Stork live bird handling system, which picked up a EuroTier 2016 Innovation Award, is focused on improved efficiency and animal welfare.

Increase loading capacity

Incorporating a SmartStack transportation module, the system offers capability to increase loading capacity by up to 38%, resulting in fewer truck movements, more space available per bird and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Responding to rising global demand for deboned thigh meat, Marel has also laid claim to the world’s first inline high-capacity thigh filleting system.

Separating the bone including kneecap from the meat, the innovation removes any need for manual trimming.

And Marel Poultry’s established system for breast cap filleting, the Stork AMF, has been boosted with intelligence, removing the need for manual selection of product size-related recipes, as module settings adjust themselves automatically.

Improve efficiency  

Also showcased at EuroTier on the Marel Poultry stand was Innova OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) coordinating software to control, monitor and improve efficiency by intelligently collecting data and analysing availability, performance and quality.

Ishida Europe is also active in the poultry sector, recently installing a flexible, space efficient system for the weighing and packing of chicken legs and drumsticks for Faccenda Foods.

At another Faccenda site, Ishida provided a system to weigh chicken fillets into trays to pass through an Ishida vision system and seal tester before being automatically picked and placed into crates via the Ishida IPS system.

Flexibility is one of the greatest assets of the installation, which offers four options for the grading of birds, including whole legs and smaller drumsticks, reducing giveaway by 30% while increasing operator throughput.

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