Portioning and sorting to serve the German market

Plukon Visbek uses I-Cut 122 TrimSort to create fillet products with least giveaway

I Cut 122 Trimsort Outfeed

"In the entire industry, the total live weights are increasing. That means fillet weights are increasing too, but consumers want smaller pieces than 300 grams fillets. That's why we all need to portion. And then, in 2018, we saw Marel's I-Cut 122 TrimSort at the fair in Utrecht. We immediately knew that such a machine would fit perfectly in our facility, because the sorting out works great," says Norbert Toben, managing director at Plukon Visbek, Germany.

"Previously, we had staff to sort out fillets by hand. That's why we highly benefit from our two new I-Cut 122 TrimSort portion cutters, where the sorting is already done in the machine. Saving staff was one of the reasons why we made the change," continues Norbert Toben. "Secondly, the weight precision is definitely improved, so we have much more control of the final packaging afterward, with reduced giveaway. And the third advantage is that by making optimal use of the programs, we can significantly reduce the number of off-cuts."

Our I-Cut portion cutters ensure that we have the appropriate weights of fillet products available.

Norbert Toben
Managing director at Plukon Visbek, Germany

Recipe per batch

Plukon Visbek has two I-Cut 122 TrimSort portion cutters in operation, to portion fillets to pre-programmed weights. First, the laser scanner scans the incoming products and calculates their weights. "On the portioner's touchscreen we enter a recipe for the upcoming batch, and the cutting actions of the I-Cut follow that program," explains Norbert Toben. 
After being cut, the fillets stay on the upper belts of the dual-lane I-Cut 122 TrimSort and are conveyed to downstream processing.

Valuable off-cuts

The off-cuts are separated to land on the internal lower belt. These valuable products are conveyed to different processes, depending on what kind of end product is needed. Particularly the accurate and fast sorting process of the two product flows makes the I-Cut 122 TrimSort a very cost-effective addition to the line for Plukon Visbek. Instead of manually sorting out off-cuts, the I-Cut takes over this job and further reduces giveaway with no need for human intervention.

Standalone but connected

Plukon Visbek uses I-Cut's own standalone software, running the programs directly on the HMI display.
However, both I-Cuts are connected to the internet so that Marel can access them for service. "Quite honestly, we have almost no issues with the I-Cuts. The portioners run very well and need very low maintenance. Of course, they sometimes need service, but that is very manageable," states Norbert Toben.
Elsewhere in the factory, Plukon makes use of further Marel systems, such as a SensorX X-ray system for bone inspection, SmartLine Graders and a SmartSplitter.

I-Cut 122 Trimsort Top Bottom Belts

Cut to the weights needed

Norbert Toben concludes, "We cut the products to the weights our customers need, and in this way we can reduce giveaway. The German food retail market is all about fixed-weight goods, such as 500 grams packs. Our I-Cut portion cutters ensure that we have the appropriate weights of fillet products available to actually get 500 grams in total in the final package."

About Plukon Visbek

Plukon's facility in Visbek, Niedersachsen Germany, is a convenience processing company that specializes in the production of deep-frozen poultry. Plukon Visbek mainly supplies the German retail and foodservice market. The incoming raw materials are chicken fillets, wings and legs. They are refined into final products that are frozen via IQF and freezers.
Most of the products supplied originate from various international locations of the Plukon Group. Managing Director Norbert Toben says, "Different customers have different requirements; some only want German goods, others also accept international goods. It's customer-dependent therefore, but there's a strong trend towards regional origins of the goods."


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