With eight production sites in the Netherlands and one in Poland, 2Sisters Storteboom BV is one of the larger poultry processors in Europe. The Zeewolde facility opened in 2011 and focuses on wholesale, retail and foodservice. 2Sisters Storteboom BV is part of the 2Sisters Food Group Ltd, based in the UK.
“Up until a year ago, weighing of our fresh poultry products was done manually for the most part”, Zeewolde plant manager Hans van Norden explains. “Accuracy was pretty good, and it offered us a lot of flexibility. But our packing and sealing machines were only working at half speed. Obviously there was a lot of unused potential there and with sales growing, we really wanted to increase production.”
Many different products
The search was on for a solution that would fit in the existing fresh poultry line without losing flexibility. Van Norden: “When we talk about fresh poultry, we actually talk about a whole range of very different poultry products: dices, filets, schnitzels, marinated or tumbled. An automated solution would have to deal with all those products, and change-over between processes would have to be quick and easy.” Also the system would have to be reliable, state-of-the art, precise and fast.
Van Norden and his colleagues approached different manufacturers, but soon gravitated towards Marel. Van Norden: “We already have a history of partnership and we know they provide quality equipment and good service”. A delegation of 2Sisters Storteboom visited the Marel facility in Oss, where a Multihead Weigher Fresh Products was set up. Hans van Norden remembers: “For us that was perfect because we had some very specific demands regarding our products, especially the marinated ones. We wanted to be sure they wouldn’t get damaged or stick together. We did a lot of test runs with our own products and the results were very impressive. It convinced us that Marel was the right choice again.”
In 2012 the Multihead Weigher was delivered and set-up in Zeewolde. “Fitting it into the existing set-up was a bit of a challenge here and there, but Marel solved it perfectly,” Van Norden says. “After weighing and batching, we can now run with two different packing lines for our different types of products.” Van Norden is very happy with the weigher’s performance: “It’s perfect. We doubled production on the fresh poultry line. Accuracy also improved and as an extra bonus give-away is reduced with about 1%. And it’s quite a sight, seeing a Multihead Weigher at work.”
Apart from doubling the speed and maintaining flexibility, the Multihead Weigher offers additional advantages. Hans van Norden explains: “All our fresh poultry products go to the foodservice business, some of them very large fast food chains. To them food safety and hygiene are extremely important. With the Multihead Weigher products move much faster through our plant, which means less exposed products and better control of temperature. This has led to a measurable increase in food quality and safety – and happy customers!”