Banham tools up for the future

British processor upgrades all the way from ATLAS to SensorX

Banham Truck Blaine Van Rensburg

“Suppliers are as important to us as customers. We are looking for long-term strategic partners, leaders in their field, who share our vision. For us, Marel ticks all boxes,” says Blaine van Rensburg, Managing Director at Banham since the start of 2020.

When Chesterfield Poultry took over Banham Poultry in 2018, the company saw opportunities for quickly improving production efficiency. Blaine van Rensburg, “We could see immediate advantages in moving to a new system of production control. These changes alone improved production efficiency by some 30%.”

Banham IRIS

New shift pattern

Moving from three shifts a day to two, was one of the drivers for October 2020’s increase from 10,000 bph to 12,000 bph [166 to 200 bpm]. Blaine again, “Apart from the higher labor cost, the old shift pattern gave us little time for maintaining equipment. If you look after your equipment, it returns the compliment. If you don’t, you can’t expect the top performance we are looking for. Operating double shift at the new line speed really is a win-win situation for us.”

Primary process re-equipped

Re-equipping the primary process had begun with ATLAS live bird handling and CAS SmoothFlow systems. Blaine comments, “The new systems have improved product quality and sharply reduced the incidence of campylobacter. Farming and processing now work more smoothly together.”

The scalding, plucking and evisceration departments have been extended and upgraded to handle the higher throughput. The evisceration upgrade also included the installation of a SmartWeigher. “Weighing before chilling gives us valuable information much earlier in the process. If there is a mismatch between weights and orders, we have more time to react.”

Banham Wing Cutting

Improved secondary process

Banham also commissioned a new distribution and selection line, complete with IRIS vision grading and a second SmartWeigher. Innova software ensures that each product is matched as accurately as possible to incoming customer orders for whole, cut and deboned products. Products for cutting move automatically to two new ACM-NT cut-up systems, for lighter and heavier products. Blaine explains, “Moving from one to two cut-up systems not only increased our capacity; we can also tighten the weight range handled by each system. This means more accurate cutting, giving us better yields and our customers a better looking portion.”

Our business is a tough one with very tight margins. That is why we have to get the details right.

Blaine Van Rensburg

Blaine van Rensburg
Managing Director at Banham

Banham Thigh Fillet System

Deboning upgraded too

Blaine continues, “The demand for thighs and thigh meat from both retailers and foodservice has gone through the roof.” To satisfy this increased demand, Banham installed a Thigh Fillet System for deboning up to 14,400 thighs per hour [240 ppm] to hand butchery quality. This is done in the ‘heavy’ ACM-NT line.
Banham has not neglected deboned breast meat in its upgrade and combines a SmartLine Grader with an AMF-i breast cap filleting system. Blaine explains, “We are looking for top quality, top yield breast fillet products. Pre-grading breast caps on SmartLine and giving our AMF-i system the intelligence to adapt to each individual breast cap helps us do this.” New SensorX X-ray detection systems round off the operation, by guaranteeing absolute boneless fillets.

Get the details right

Banham’s further extension plans include Marel weight/price labelers, digitalized warehouse management with Innova, Q-Wing and leg weighing in the cut-up line. A complete Marel line for coated and breaded products is also envisioned for the near future. “Ultimately, we plan to return to Bunns Bank, building a state-of-the-art greenfield processing plant.”

Blaine van Rensburg concludes, “Our business is a tough one with very tight margins. That is why we have to get the details right and have the right supplier. I have cooperated with Marel for ten years in my native South Africa. I am confident that Marel will help us realize our exciting plans, building on Attleborough’s long tradition as the source of top quality poultry products.”

Banham Leg Processing

About Banham Poultry

Banham Poultry has had its headquarters in the Norfolk town of Attleborough since 1965. Three generations built up a reputation with retailers and consumers alike for top quality chicken products. In the autumn of 2018, Banham Poultry was taken over by Yorkshire based Chesterfield Poultry. At the time of the takeover, Banham accounted for some 7% of UK broiler production.

Banham Poultry is a vertical integration spanning all activities from parent stock farms through grow-out and processing to the distribution of packed finished products in its own vehicles. It currently supplies major supermarkets, other retail outlets and wholesalers.

Company website: banhampoultryuk.com

Banham Packing


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