Fully prepared for the future

Belgian processor Schildermans turns to Marel for complete re-equipment

Schildermans Drone

Planning the renewal of its plant, Schildermans, a Belgian poultry processor, decided to switch to Marel. Throughput will remain at 8,000 bph [133 bpm], as traditional quality and freshness are more important than quantity. Managing Director Eloy Schildermans wants to be prepared for a future in which growth is no longer a major factor, now that drastic changes in the poultry supply chain are expected.

Re-equipment will be done step by step. Marel’s new primary line and air chilling tunnel will be installed in a new building. This will be connected to the existing secondary process in the current factory. The old primary department will then be cleared to accommodate a new secondary process.

Why Marel?

In early 2021, Eloy Schildermans first contacted sales manager Bart Wolters about graders. In September 2021 this resulted in another conversation, this time about large-scale reequipment. Eloy Schildermans says, “We weren’t talking about a partial re-equiment of our factory but a complete renewal. We looked closely at technologies launched between the last time we re-equipped in 2014 and now. Marel convinced us with their technologies and the way they handle products. Examples are the anatomic leg cutter, resulting in more yield and less damage, and giblet harvesting, where Marel leads the field. Looking to the future, we feel Marel with its innovative solutions, intelligent technological options and management of line data, is best placed to take us forward.



Eloy Schildermans (Pludis) and Bart Wolters (Marel)

Mixed evisceration

A fully Marel equipped evisceration department follows a Marel electric stunner, scalder complete with pasteurization and pluckers. Vent Cutter, Opening Machine and Nuova Eviscerator prepare carcasses for neck, inspection and cleaning operations, while a separate viscera pack line features all giblet harvesting machines. Eloy Schildermans talks about evisceration, “Every day we have a mix of regular broilers and slow-growing concept broilers. Our line must be able to perform perfectly on both.” One of the main reasons for choosing Marel was Schildermans’ decision to start harvesting giblets. “We prepare all livers, hearts, gizzards and necks for human consumption. They will be air chilled in our new tunnel. Most giblets will be sold fresh to the halal market. The rest will go to retail channels, further processing, bulk export or pet food.”

More insight

A TR-CS weighing rehanger and IRIS vision grading in the distribution line will assess products, distributing them to two ACM-NT cut-up lines. This operation is controlled by Innova software, part of an Innova traceability package. “Until now, we have collected our data ‘the Excel way’, but combining reports and drawing the right conclusion takes too much time. We have high expectations of Innova. We are looking not so much at having more data as having a more transparent, efficient and centralized insight into reports. This is real added value,” says Eloy Schildermans.

Eloy Schildermans2


Schildermans’ aim is to work sustainably. The new building’s concrete structure is optimally insulated. Both energy and water saving are priorities. “We have our own water treatment system. We re-use purified process water for cleaning our courtyard, trucks and transport containers. We’ll also collect rainwater and install solar panels on our roof.” To save water, Marel machines feature spraying nozzles with compressed air. The air chilling tunnel with Marel overhead conveyor lines and ATC technology uses no water at all. Marel’s comprehensive vacuum system efficiently collects offal from various processes to a central point. By adding maximum value to those residual products too, Schildermans ensures the sustainable use of virtually all raw materials and optimum carcass balance.

Employee engagement

Labor is also scarce in Belgium. Schildermans is determined to retain its employees. “We invest a lot in training our people and making them feel more involved. Instead of telling them topdown how to do things, we trigger them to think about their jobs by giving them the freedom to take responsibility. Management doesn’t have all the answers. If employees understand better why they do things a certain way –to have fewer broken legs, for example–, they feel more engaged. We involved the line controller of every department in our re-equipment plans and asked them how they would like to see their future workplace. We really engage our people in the change,” concludes Eloy Schildermans.

With its innovative solutions, intelligent technological options and management of line data, Marel is best placed to take us forward.”

Eloy Schildermans
Managing Director

About Schildermans/Pludis

The history of Pludis goes back to 1954 when founder Jacques Schildermans started supplying chickens, in addition to newspaper delivery. He then started his own small slaughterhouse in the town of Bree. In 1990, sons Mathy and Stefan Schildermans took over the processing plant. They expanded the business, supplying supermarkets, meat distributors and butchers. Since 2010, Stefan has taken full charge of the processing plant, further processing and sales. In 2014, the processing plant was completely re-equipped and expanded. Eloy Schildermans, third generation, entered the company in 2017 and soon became Managing Director. Schildermans, aka Pludis, with its brand name Plufine, employs about 135 people.

company website: pludis.be

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