Fermiers du Gers takes a big leap forward

French processor in Condom modernizes with Marel automation

Fermiers Du Gers ACM NT

Poultry processor Fermiers du Gers in France wanted to lift performance at its Condom site. The project for a new processing hall, which includes a chilling tunnel, cut-up, grading and packaging lines, started in 2016 and has recently been completed. It represents a big leap forward in performance for Fermiers du Gers.

Investment in the Condom plant had been low for many years and restructuring was necessary. Simon Augereau, Managing Director of Fermiers du Gers, says: "The idea was to use automation to improve performance and serve all our customers better. We are not a mass-production company. We have a wide range of different end products packed on trays in a modified atmosphere, in vacuum packs, bulk, sized or fixed weight. We are aiming this wide range of products at supermarkets but we are also very active in our traditional markets, such as wholesalers, butchers, school and company canteens."

Fermiers du Gers AMF breast meat deboning

Air chilling

Previously, Fermiers du Gers used static cooling in cold rooms requiring a lot of manual handling. "Our old system lacked performance. Marel's new air chilling system gives us perfect temperature control. The yield and quality of our products are clearly better and now that everything is inline, we have considerably less handling," says Simon Augereau.
The DownFlow+ chilling system saves about an hour and a half when compared to the static system. Average weights are known much earlier, making it easy to assign products to the appropriate orders. Finally, Marel air chilling reduces the risk of bacterial contamination to a minimum.

At the same speed

Fermiers du Gers' cut-up line was over 20 years old, requiring two large teams of people and no longer meeting requirements. The priority was to cut up the products at the same speed as the primary process with fewer people. Installation of the ACM-NT cut-up line, RoboBatcher and SmartLine Grader achieved this. Now, it only takes a single small team to handle the total volume coming from the primary process.

Marel can handle all our needs and issues from A to Z.

Simon Augereau2

Simon Augereau
Managing Director Fermiers du Gers

Wingsticks

An important product for Fermiers du Gers is the leg separated into drumstick and thigh portions. Breast fillet tenderloins are a big market too. As for wings, Fermiers du Gers sells the vast majority as drummettes and wingettes. There is, however, another market, the wingstick. "In France, this is a large market with a lot of demand particularly from the younger generation, who eat it as a snack. It is sold mainly in supermarkets." The new ACM-NT system, which includes a specialist Wingstick module, can do all these cuts.

Fermiers du Gers whole griller WingSticks

Complete control with Innova

Fermiers du Gers Condom uses the traceability and labeling modules of the Marel Innova software. "We wanted to have traceability, production control and performance monitoring. Another important point for us is being able to control our processes in real-time. For this automation, we chose Innova."
After the chilling tunnel, SmartWeigher and IRIS assess the products. Simon Augereau continues: "When we know the quality of products in advance, we can plan where to direct them. Innova allows us to control production, including product monitoring in the chilling tunnel, traceability and the labeling of whole and cut products."

Success of the project

Twenty years ago, the first collaboration between Marel and Fermiers du Gers began with an AMF system and a RoboBatcher. "Marel has the best portfolio for the poultry industry. If processors want to have a high-performance, quality process, then they should turn to Marel. For us, Marel has put in place solutions perfectly tailored to our needs. These are so unique that other suppliers can't compare. Marel can handle all our needs and issues from A to Z," says Simon Augereau.
Despite a two-month delay for the construction of the building due to the pandemic and lockdowns in France, start of the new plant in June 2021 went very well. "Our teams were very motivated and eager to learn; factors also determining the success of a project. After a quick start-up and control phase, we are now entering an optimization phase to give us an even smoother process. "

 

Fermiers Du Gers Legs2

About Fermiers du Gers

Fermiers du Gers comprises two historical companies. The Condom and Saramon sites already had slaughterhouses in the 1960s. In 2011, the two merged to create Fermiers du Gers. The Condom site specializes in standard chickens, the Saramon site in Label Rouge poultry. Automation at Saramon is adapted to different types of products with specific features that require more manual work, such as traditional chicken with head and legs on. Saramon operates in traditional local markets, local shops and butchers. In today's France, however, the sale of standard chicken predominates. It will continue to do so.

Company website: fermiersdugers.fr



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