Donstar: top class high speed duck processing

Dedicated technology for a dedicated processor

Duck Processing Inline Waxing Solution

Donstar is the name of the first large-scale duck meat manufacturer in Russia, situated in the Rostov region near Millerovo. The vertically integrated company produces a wide variety of duck products, known under the brand name “Utolina”. For processing the ducks the company teamed up with Marel. A high capacity duck processing plant was built using the latest available technologies and highest level of automation. Because of the huge success further extension plans are being developed.

Vadim Shalvovich Vaneev, CEO of the Eurodon Holding, the Mother company of Donstar, says: “Our brand represents high-quality fresh, tasty, tender and succulent duck meat. We are reviving this great forgotten Russian tradition, a classic. It is a 100% Russian product, made in our Russia for our Russians. Duck is becoming an affordable luxury product and is growing in popularity just like turkey meat. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of attractive Utolina products such as whole ducks, half ducks, legs, quarters, fillet, wings, giblets etc. They are superior to what the market had been supplying until now.”

Controllable production for high quality

The whole Donstar project involves the construction of a feed mill, a hatchery, over 60 growing sheds, a processing plant and a waste treatment facility. Control over the whole production chain ensures quality control at all stages of the process and guarantees consumers reliable top quality, a safe product grown and processed in an optimum environment.

High capacity, high automation

The ducks are processed at a high capacity plant with a current capacity of 4,000 ducks per hour (66 pm). The initial yearly capacity of this project is 26 thousand tons of duck meat. Expansion plans are being developed to expand up to 40 thousand tons and more. The modern state-of-the-art plant employs 900 workers and is unique for Russia. A duck processing plant of a similar high capacity with such level of automation is a rarity anywhere in the world.

Inline Air Chilling Duck

GP dedicated for ducks

The Donstar project includes a GP Live Bird Handling system. This smooth way of supplying live ducks makes a significant contribution to the overall efficiency of the processing plant and safeguards the quality of the ducks.

Scalding with extra agitation

After stunning and killing, ducks are scalded. The dedicated duck scalders are equipped with extra agitation necessary to ensure that ducks are kept immersed and that the temperature of the scald water throughout the unit remains constant.

Custom-made defeathering

After scalding the ducks are defeathered. This is of crucial importance for product presentation. Plucking action will also determine the extent to which the epidermis remains attached and is especially important if whole ducks or portions are to be sold fresh, skin on. Marel’s duck pluckers are based on the well-known A-frame concept and have adaptable plucking speeds and adjustable individual beams. Their position can be altered and there are frequency converters at the breast side, all to optimize the plucking result.

Ducks Donstar Coneline

Waxing for perfect skin presentation

In duck processing perfect breast skin presentation is essential. Feathers should be completely removed, but the skin must remain undamaged. Marel is master of the waxing process. A fully in-line, compact waxing system has been installed at Donstar, including an efficient wax recycling system. Products are conveyed through a bath filled with plucking wax. Then they are immersed in a wax cooling tank. Here the wax solidifies and is ready to be removed automatically in a wax peeler, taking off pins and smaller feathers. The wax is recycled. It is melted, filtered and brought back into the process to be re-used at the correct temperature.


The entire viscera pack is removed completely in a single automated operation. The viscera pack is hung over the breast side. In various automated steps the ducks are prepared in the best possible way for chilling and all other downstream operations. Giblets harvested are chilled in-line and distributed. Feet are processed into valuable products. After air chilling using the Downflow Plus chilling concept, whole products are selected by weight and quality and processed in the Marel cut-up area.

Labeling & packing solutions

At the end of the process products are weighed, batched, packed and labeled in the most efficient way using a Marel Weigh Price Labeler. Labels are produced with support of user-friendly Innova Software. The labeling module is part of the complete Marel Innova software solution. This solution enables plant management to oversee the processes and their KPI’s, allowing any necessary remedial action to be taken at an early stage. For Marel, Donstar is its prime successful, high speed, automated duck processing greenfield project. It brings the best and latest dedicated duck processing technology together and enables Donstar to stay in pole position in duck processing. The Utolina brand has every opportunity to build on its popularity.

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Duck Logistics Trays Belt

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