To Van Leeuwen, craftsmanship, product quality and continuity are key starting points. Cees van Leeuwen, Director-Owner, says: “I know poultry meat. When I was 15, I started helping my father in our backyard. Our traditional products sold well because of their high quality. Our family business grew and grew and 25 years ago we bought our first Marel breast cap deboning line. We produced 1500 kg. per day. Today we produce 200.000 kg fillet products per week and quality and craftsmanship are still are top priorities. It’s in our products, in our culture: always make the best, every day, every hour. Craftsmanship and industrial processing go together well.”
Since the first automated breast cap deboning system was introduced at Van Leeuwen 25 years ago many things have changed. Van Leeuwen has grown: in 2010 the Company opened a new plant and expanded production to four complete AMF lines.
The lines themselves have also grown. Many new modules have been installed and capacities have gone up. This has opened up new end product possibilities and increased production capacity, the right answers to growing demand.
Quality as prime drive
At Van Leeuwen business decisions are always based on quality. Rob Hengeveld, Director-Owner, says: “We only buy Dutch breast caps. We know their quality is consistently high. Products are very fresh. Without high quality raw material we are lost. The next step is our process. We are constantly working to optimize it further.
“Right now we are restructuring the complete product flow. We have a very high throughput. Products come in, are processed and go out, always fast, always fresh. Soon we will expand our current square meters by some 50%. Again this enables us to focus more on efficiency, packing and labeling. We will become even more flexible and versatile than we already are.”
When it comes to the quality of the chosen technology, Hengeveld has a clear vision: “To us, the AMF is by far the best solution for high quality, large scale breast deboning. Quite simply, AMF technology produces the best possible end products. There is no real alternative. I’m not saying it’s a cheap system, but it is the very best. The same goes for our products. We do not position ourselves as the cheapest producer but when it comes to quality, we offer the best there is.”
Since its introduction the AMF system has been continuously evolving. Some examples of modules introduced in recent years are PLC controls allowing processors to optimize settings when breast cap weight ranges change, new product carriers making for much improved cap positioning and generating higher yields and a new de-skinning module for optimal performance and product quality.
When asked what these new improvements offer, Hengeveld says: “Marel made the right choice in continuing with the development of the system. The new PLC controls are a good example as with fewer pneumatic parts performance of the system is now even more reliable. But for us, the flexibility of the settings is not something we use that frequently. With four complete production lines, we already optimize infeed per weight class.”
Profitable product carriers
“The new product carriers, are great”, says Van Leeuwen, “They position product correctly. This means better cuts and higher yields. I cannot understand why a processor would NOT buy them. If you do the math, you know they have an attractive payback time!”
New skinning module
Another improvement is the recently introduced high-performance skinning module. Van Leeuwen continues: “This new module performs to a consistently high standard. It picks up the skin very well. We are also seeing less damage to the meat and fewer downgrades. The module needs less maintenance too.”
Like all companies, Van Leeuwen Kipspecialiteiten is looking for optimum levels of reliability and performance to ensure top profitability. This is the basis for further growth and for yet more success. Marel is proud that its AMF technology can contribute to that growth.