Marel, global experts in food processing, is constantly adapting to the needs of its customers and helping grow markets on the back of innovative products which add value to otherwise wasted material.
A key focus for Marel has always been centred on sustainability and value adding for clients.
“For example, every new machine we develop is required to meet sustainability benchmarks,” said David Bertelsen, regional managing director Asia and Oceania at Marel.
“We measure those and if it doesn’t tick the right boxes than we don’t allow the development to continue, so it is built into the machines from the very start.”
Bertelsen used cod, the first food product Marel took on after its creation in Iceland in the 1970s, as an example of how the company creates more value for its clients.
“When we started, we were getting just over half of each piece of fish was being turned into valuable sold products and today in Iceland as much as 99 to 100 per cent of the fish is used in different formats and that is due to capturing more in the yield and using the by-products,” he said.
“Sustainability is central to our mission.”
Bertelsen said an important part of the above process was having an in-line processing system that looks after main products and quickly refrigerates valuable by-products.
Meanwhile, Greg Bulluss, regional sales director, retail and food service solutions at Marel, said the company was always innovating new versions of its machinery, and machine pieces, to constantly create greater innovation for customers.
The RevoPortioner 1000 is a good example of this, Bulluss said.
“Most of our large 1000mm lines have two RevoPortioner’s at the moment, typically TPR 500s and 570s,” he said.
“We can replace two machines with the RevoPortioner 1000, and this doesn’t use the same amount of power. There are savings just by going to the larger machine, including less energy and less services from factory point of view, and less materials for us.”
Bulluss said that Marel doesn’t aim to reduce the workforce in place of automation, but the use of Marel’s machinery has proven to reduce the cost of labour in factories.
“Not that we want to cut labour from factories but as many in the industry are aware, labour is hard to come by,” he said.
“It still takes one operator per machine but with one larger machine there is the labour saving and the other area we are really focused on now is the renewal campaign on our machines.
“Where machines come to end of life or service where we can actively trade those machines in, retrieve some of the components, if they are applicable, and then get the customer to upgrade to more modern technologies which create further savings.”
Bulluss said the primary driver behind Marel’s innovation always hinges on using modern technology for a lesser cost.
The primary meat industry is a perfect example of how Marel helps create value through by-products and off-cuts.
“It’s about taking off cuts and using them to value add, that is where we see our involvement. There is always a way to take secondary or off-cut products and value add through use of our equipment,” he said.
“Without technology we can increase yields, for example more meat will stay on the fillet to begin with, and then the off cuts can be formed for other products whether be salmon nuggets, potato scallops, and those sorts of things.
Marel is also increasing its focus on customers supplying into retail and food service, which is becoming a more important market for the company. It has also set up a structure to explore new markets and segments that will drive the growth and evolution of Marel.
Marel already has a proven track record for helping client’s increase the capacity and quality of their production and ensure growth.
Increasing capacity and quality
OSI Food Solutions Germany turned to Marel for help when it needed to increase its production of chicken nuggets and experts from Marel quickly identified the RevoPortioner 1000 as the low-pressure forming machine that would be capable of completing the task.
The company produces 35,000 tons of chicken products per year. A RevoPortioner has been helping them do this since 2007.
“We decided to install the RevoPortioner 1000 because there are very few forming machines on the market that can meet our production requirements,” said Juergen Wehner, plant manager, OSI Food Solutions Germany.”
The RevoPortioner 1000 has the proven technology of previous generations, including the innovative Helix Drum. The drum molds run in a diagonal line instead of a straight line, which requires less pressure for food forming and increases product consistency.
“With the Helix Drum, only the mold that’s directly under the filling slot must be filled, which reduces the pressure on a product.
“The new set-up brings many advantages.”
Plus, an essential factor for switching to the RevoPortioner 1000 was the lower space requirement.
“Before, we needed two filling machines, two X-ray devices and two forming machines. Now, we can save a lot of space by having only one of each machine,” Wehner continued.
The set up was simplified and energy consumption was also reduced, contributing to a more efficient and sustainable production.
“Using one forming machine instead of two gives a significant reduction in energy use,” said Wehner.
“This is particularly noticeable in the need for less compressed air, one of the most expensive energy types. So, the less you need for forming, the better.”
Convenience food processors have experienced significant benefits from the low-pressure food forming solutions that Marel has been continuously developing for more than 25 years.
Securing future growth
When Netherlands based Tyson Foods Europe decided to add chicken strips to its product range it had to upgrade its facility with a new cutting line that maximised yield and quality.
One of the company’s biggest challenges was ensuring it met strict quality standards for a manual cutting line.
“From the start of this project, we knew how difficult it would be to replicate this manual cut,” said Federico Carro Lazarini, senior manager technical development, Tyson Foods Europe.
“That’s why we wanted to work with a company that really knows the process and could advise us on how best to build up this line.”
Meanwhile Geovani da Silva, senior manager in the engineering and maintenance department, said Marel gave the company the insight it needed to maximise the use of raw material and how to achieve the best possible yields.
“Marel understands the process and knows the possibilities. From the start, we had a firm belief that Marel could live up to our high expectations,” he said.
After consultation between both companies, Marel finally recommended three pieces of machinery for the new strip-cut line, the SensorX, a SmartSplitter, and an I-Cut 122.
The SensorX employs X-Ray technology to detect bones and other hard contaminants, while the SmartSplitter produces uniform thickness, high throughput and leaves a small footprint. Meanwhile, the I-Cut 122 provides intelligent cutting to ensure there is minimal give away and a fixed-eight for each cut.
“Marel worked with us to optimise the line. It is unbelievable how much we’ve improved our process, quality and yield,” said Lazarini.