Esbro moves to 15,000 bph processing

Premium Dutch processor raises cost-efficiency

Sander De Bruijn Jan Legters Esbro

Major Dutch poultry processor Esbro, part of the Groenland Group, recently increased its line speed from 13,500 to 15,000 bph [225 to 250 bpm]. Jan Legters, Esbro Plant Manager, talks about the capacity increase.

Esbro had been thinking about moving to 15,000 bph [250 bpm] since 2017. Jan Legters says, “Having 11% more birds on the line is highly advantageous for our cost effectiveness. We already had an up-to-date factory. We had the equipment and the people available to go faster, a unique opportunity to get maximum efficiency out of our plant. Cleaning costs are the same for both 12,000 and 15,000 bph [200 and 250 bpm]. Fixed costs remain the same too. With an increase in veterinarian inspection and with a few changes here and there, we were able to increase profitability.”

Linelink transfer units

For 15,000 bph [250 bpm], Esbro added LineLink DE and EC transfer units. “The LineLink transfer units are really top-notch, says Jan Legters. “They save our operators a lot of stress. Their technological concept is simpler and maintaining them is not much work. I think they’re very efficient systems!”

Iris helps vets

When speeding up processing from 13,500 [225 bpm] to 15,000 bph [250 bpm], a main concern was food safety. Jan Legters explains, “We decided to stay ahead of regulations and add a third veterinary station, as well as an IRIS vision system to support vets in the evisceration line. We’re now able to unload damaged, too small or badly bled products in the transfer unit. I’m very enthusiastic about this. We know the quality of individual birds before vets start their inspection. I think cameras will even become more important for veterinary tasks in the future.” 


Esbro also installed a SmartWeigher in the evisceration line. This allows plant management to get very accurate product weight data from the system in an early stage, just before the chilling process. Production can be matched more easily to incoming orders. “We now have SmartWeighers on either side of the chilling tunnel. We are able to check yields in the tunnel based on accurate facts not on gut feeling,” continues Jan Legters.


“With Marel IMPAQT software, we no longer depend on gut feelings in primary processing. When even our most experienced people think they have found the cause of an issue, IMPAQT sometimes proves them wrong. The control, the insight we have into our primary process is simply amazing. We know what’s happening where. We can pinpoint which line has stopped when and for how many seconds. We know what the source of the problem was.” Jan Legters is obviously very happy with the addition of IMPAQT to the 15,000 process.


“Our chilling system needed serious expansion, because we went from a two to three hours chill. We used to mature off-line and wanted to get rid of handling crates and save people. We wanted to keep the whole process including maturation in-line. Back in 2013 when building the tunnel, we allowed for an extra portal, as Esbro was already thinking of future expansion. Extension of the chilling tunnel line has been installed in that room.”


In Esbro’s distribution line, three new TR-1G HS transfer units have been added for a fast and accurate distribution to the cut-up lines; this ACM-NT configuration needed hardly any upgrade for the 15,000 process. All of Esbro’s filleting lines are operating with updated AMF-i systems, which can handle the new speed. “We only used to debone breasts but now we see the demand for product from leg and thigh meat skyrocketing. We are looking at all areas. We want to keep up with, even stay ahead of, today’s developments. Maybe we will change the way we process wings in the near future.”

Get in touch

Our dedicated team is here to help and answer any questions you may have. Please complete the form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

Login to get full access

Enter password to continue

Wrong password