Ingham’s automates with Marel Poultry

Australian poultry processor Ingham's sought to improve efficiency


Inghams Enterprises, a major Australian poultry company, approached Marel for ways in which to improve efficiency. Marel was able to help in this situation by proposing the appropriate automation. SensorX bone detectors, AMF-BX deboning systems and Multihead Weigher solutions were offered and then installed in different plants across the Ingham's group.

Ingham's wanted to catch up with current levels of poultry processing performance and efficiency, which meant a serious move towards automation. The first point of attention was the bone detection process, which used to be completely manual, with many workers trying to spot small bones in deboned poultry. Apart from being rather inaccurate, this process is also expensive. The same was true for the deboning process. Many manual operations needed many employees.  
“Our company saw and embraced the opportunity,” according to Jan Gebraad, Ingham's Regional Lead. 

Bone detection

To improve bone detection efficiency, multiple Marel SensorX bone-detection systems ­­– two combined with SmartSort grading –, were installed across Ingham's plants. The SensorX SmartSort is a compact, integrated solution that combines X-ray bone-detection with advanced grading. In this situation, the SensorX also uses its X-ray system to weigh. This weight information is used by the SmartSort to grade product. There is therefore no longer any need for a dynamic weighing unit.

Proven its worth

In the broiler processing lines, the SensorX equipment will focus fully on breast fillets and tenderloins. Jan Gebraad says, "We take bone detection very seriously. We specifically chose Marel SensorX equipment because it is the industry benchmark, with over 600 applications worldwide. Previous experience with SensorX gave us the confidence of choosing a proven solution."

Ingham Plant

Fillet products

Ingham's also decided to replace its manual deboning processes for small birds with a semi-automated system. The best possible solution turned out to be the AMF-BX FlexControl. At Ingham's the filleting process concentrates on breast caps from smaller broilers. The AMF-BX modules can make a wide variety of end products, such as breast fillets, butterflies and tenderloins.


For the very first Marel Multihead Weigher for fresh products in Australia's, Marel developed a custom-made solution for Ingham's. It's now possible to fill bags, position products on a tray or put them in a crate as bulk products. Thanks to the added Multi-job software option, these three jobs can be executed separately or simultaneously. A funnel below the Multihead Weigher is equipped with three outputs, which can allot their batches simultaneously. Jan Gebraad continues, "The Multihead Weigher offers lots of potential with a variety of products. At the moment we're mainly batching drumsticks and lovely legs*, but we are testing other fresh products.”

About Ingham's

Business started in 1918 when Walter Ingham bought a piece of bushland in Sydney’s south-west, a rooster and six hens for his son. Walter Ingham junior grew the business and in the 1950s, the small locally-based company was handed down to his sons, Jack and Bob. Over the past 60 years, Jack and Bob Ingham have built Inghams Enterprises into a poultry empire, feeding millions of Australians each year. In 2013 Bob Ingham sold the company to TPG Capital.
Aside from the poultry side of the business, the Ingham name is equally well-known for its success on the racecourse, as Australia’s largest and most successful racehorse owners.

Cafes and outback pubs

Inghams Enterprises employs more than 8,000 people in all aspects of poultry production in more than 100 locations across Australia and New Zealand. Ingham's comprises a fully integrated farming, primary and further processing poultry production business, with a total of 10 stock feed mills, 7 primary poultry production plants, and 7 further processing plants. From contemporary cafes on Bondi Beach to outback pubs in the Australian bush; Ingham's quality poultry products find their way to plates all over Australia. At the moment Ingham's is the largest poultry processor in Australia and the second largest in New Zealand.

* skinless drumsticks

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