In the food processing industry, it has become preferable if not mandatory for companies to operate within the guidelines of social responsibility and sustainability and take into consideration the effects of their operations on people, planet and purpose. In line with Marel’s corporate social responsibility approach, animal welfare is high on the agenda when it comes to research and development in the company. Focus on animal welfare in product development supports environmental and economic responsibility. At the same time, good animal welfare practices in general increase quality and productivity while reducing the carbon footprint.
Revolutionary live bird transportation system
One illustration of Marel's social responsibility towards animal welfare is the ATLAS system (Advanced Technology Live Bird Arrival System), an exemplary solution for live bird handling. The attention to animal welfare inherent in the ATLAS solution earned it a EuroTier 2017 Innovation Award.
When developing ATLAS, the Marel team searched for the best way to give birds as much space as possible, while maintaining transport efficiency. The result was the SmartStack transport module, featuring a unique design of the lower tray. This "loadable pallet" in effect creates an extra tier. Furthermore, the SmartStack tiers have considerably more height than other transport modules on the market. This means that birds have more fresh air at their disposal, which improves their circumstances considerably.
Better transportation reduces stress
Preventing distress during transport is a key feature of the ATLAS system. The SmartStack module minimizes stress level for the birds from the start. After the birds are loaded on the farm, they have no more human contact. As a result the general well-being of the broilers is secured all the way. The new design of the transport trays includes detachable panels on all sides. It makes it very simple and easy to remove a bird if needed.
Despite the optimized transport conditions, an animal can be found to be in distress. In that case, it can be taken out of the tray at all times during transport. It is easy to flip over the side panel which is nearest, and remove the bird. This is an absolutely unique feature with respect to animal welfare; no other system in the world can match this.
– Tim van Schaik, Marel Poultry Product Specialist
Better ventilation, improved air quality
The SmartStack trays are equipped with unique Airflo floors which ensure a continuous vertical and horizontal fresh air flow. The floor also allows birds to grip and stabilize themselves during transport. In the processing plant, the ATLAS trays move discreetly through the process. The destacking of the SmartStack module into separate trays occurs very gently and the birds stay calm during the whole process.