Pursuing plans despite adverse external forces

QPLC Philippines automates its processes with Marel

QPLC Technicians

Despite forces of nature such as volcanic eruptions and the Covid-19 pandemic, QPLC, the Philippine poultry integrator Quezon Poultry and Livestock Corporation stuck to its plans to expand its poultry processing plant. Marel was happy to support the automation of this existing plant with its aim of reaching new levels of quality. Gary Raya, plant manager of QPLC’s processing plant, talks about his company’s ambitions.

The Philippine economy was hit hard by Covid-19. Gary Raya tells how QPLC coped, “The food service market, which we’re in, collapsed. During lockdown all restaurants and hotels were closed. We had to find other ways of bringing products to our customers, so we turned our trucks into mobile markets. Although we’re definitely doing better than most, our market is not yet back to where it was.”

An end to quick-fixes

Gary Raya talks about QPLC’s situation in 2018, when he became responsible for the processing plant. “At that time, our machines were no longer efficient due to breakdowns and a high consumables turnover. That's why we had to replace them and why we switched to Marel systems. In all of the processing plants I’ve seen in the Philippines and abroad, machines were more durable; they were all Marel.”
Early in 2020, QPLC started completely rebuilding the killing and evisceration departments to handle a capacity of 4,500 bph [75 bpm]. Automation replaced manual processes. QPLC managed to continue business in a rented processing facility nearby, while re-equipping and reinstalling their own plant, which became a kind of greenfield within an existing building but with a new roof and floors.

Local Marel engineers

Suddenly, Covid-19 restrictions caused an interruption. Foreign Marel engineers could no longer visit the plant. QPLC refused to sit still. “Luckily Marel had a full team of local engineers available in the Manila region, who could come to our plant. As hotels were closed, they had to rent an apartment for the time needed to install and commission.” Despite the unusual circumstances, they performed perfectly.

QPLC Plant

Evisceration applause

Gary Raya comments, “We now use Marel stunning, killing, scalding and plucking systems. To be honest, we know what to expect when the products come out of these departments. Our equipment does a good job.
With evisceration things are very different as not all eviscerator brands really perform that well. It is the Marel machines in the evisceration area, which have made the biggest difference for us. When the Nuova CoreTech system processed its first 100 test broilers, our employees started clapping, because the machine had taken out all intestines perfectly. That’s something new to them, because everything was manual before.
In addition, the NIC neck inspection machine helps keep the water clean in our chilling tank and ensures a clean product; we no longer need additional manual cleaning in the packing area.”

Whole chicken handling

A new Marel Compact Grader, installed after the water chiller and drip line, grades whole birds. QPLC wants to weigh their chicken precisely without added water content. Products are then packed in bulk bags, which contain about 15 whole chickens depending on their weight.

Awarded supplier

QPLC sells their whole chickens mainly to HRI customers (Hotel and Restaurant Industries). These include the Metro Manila outlets of Jollibee Food Corporation, the major QSR chain in the Philippines and famous worldwide for its fried chicken. Jollibee Food Corporation is one of QPLC’s most important customers and awarded QPLC the title of ‘Preferred Supplier’ in 2018.
The second group of QPLC’s customers buys fresh whole chickens in bulk in different weight ranges. They then pick up the products and distribute them to other distributors or wet markets.

It is the Marel machines in the evisceration area, which have made the biggest difference for us.

Gary Raya
Processing Plant Manager QPLC

About QPLC

QPLC is one of the most fully integrated poultry and livestock companies in the Philippines. Its supply chain is connected at each stage and from end to end.
It all started with the founding father of the company, Mr. Noel Raya, who began humbly, trading chicken. He then decided to put up his own farm. In 2000 he founded Quezon Poultry and Livestock Corporation together with his wife and brother-in-law.

The company’s broiler volume is now one of the biggest in South Luzon and is supported by a well-balanced and complete supply chain. QPLC has two feed mills, which cover their chicken and hog requirements, and a hatchery for their own chicken breeder farms.

In 2011, QPLC started processing poultry when Noel Raya decided to expand the company’s market and supply restaurants. This was the key to the company’s growth over the last decade.

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