UK seafood processor expands facilities with 'state-of-the-art' cold store

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The project forms part of Libra Seafoods' expansion plans. Credit FEG Global
The project forms part of Libra Seafoods' expansion plans. Credit FEG Global

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FEG Global has completed work on a new cold store facility for food processor Libra Seafoods.

FEG, an engineering consultancy firm, designed and installed the new "state-of-the-art​" cold store for the Jarrow-based prawn processing business earlier this year, with the expansion providing Libra Seafoods with increased capacity as it seeks to grow.

The family-owned business has put significant investment into its Tyne and Wear facilities, with the combination of a changing competitive landscape and an internal focus on innovation prompting the decision to increase production capabilities. Plans were initially put in place in 2020, with proposals including the creation of a new product development (NPD) team and the expansion of its production and storage facilities at a nearby vacant site.

FEG began work on the new cold store late last year, which was designed to increase on-site storage capacity, while enabling the existing site to add to its cooking and processing lines.

Chris Williams, FEG managing director, explained: “Our team managed the design planning, installation and commissioning of the turnkey project, as always having health and safety at the forefront of our priorities while ensuring we delivered on KPIs for the client. We had regular meetings and progress updates with the Libra Seafoods team to ensure everyone was kept in the loop and that the project was delivered to time and on budget​.”

‘Delivered on time and to budget’

The 28 metre by 25 metre cold store, which is almost seven metres high, features four refrigeration units with chiller, condenser and evaporator units. The facility incorporates automated mobile racking systems that allow for increased storage through their ability to create flexible access points.

The entrance and exit points have been built with airlock features to block the entry of warm air, along with double shuttering and heated voids to stop any humidity that could freeze.

Additionally, the site enables four times the capacity of the previous factory space while using the same amount of energy. Smart lighting and automated systems help achieve this, while the underfloor system also features heating mats and insulation to ensure that the ground underneath the cold store does not freeze and cause concrete deterioration.

The team from FEG included engineers across structural and civil engineering, ECI engineering, mechanical engineering and process engineering.

Andrew Muat, purchasing director at Libra Seafoods, said that firm felt in “safe hands​” with FEG throughout the project.

Even if issues did arise, as they always do, the FEG team took on responsibility and came to us with the solution rather than the problem,” ​Muat explained.

“We really felt the passion for their work and that they were on our side – it was nice to work with a contractor that genuinely cares. Delivered on time and to budget, the work by FEG Global has opened doors for us and paved the way for our next phase of growth.”

Meanwhile, operations director Mike Muat added: “We’re excited for the new projects that are coming our way and we would certainly look forward to entrusting FEG with future works.”

In other news, a supplier for retailer Iceland is facing strike action in the lead up to Christmas.

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