The substantial project had to be completed with minimal disruption to production. This was done by reconstructing the building in stages. After each construction stage, another processing department could be upgraded.
New air chilled shock/maturation tunnel
Bell’s replacement of a traditional offline air chilling and maturation process with a completely new inline shock maturation chilling tunnel was not just a matter of hardware. It also meant a change in working methods. Instead of decisions being made “overnight” about the destination of product in the chill tunnel, these decisions are now made on the basis of incoming orders, some three hours before the product leaves the chiller.
Thomas Graf, Manager Poultry at Bell says, “The flow of goods has been shortened by one day, while top quality is now guaranteed. Our biggest challenge was to plan and control the accelerated product flow, as well as the entire organization around it.”
Thanks to several smart inline chilling maturation features, fillets are just as juicy and tender as fillets which have matured conventionally for 12 hours. At the same time, Bell can now track and trace product, which is only one of the many advantages of inline air chilling.
In order to cope with higher capacities, the scalder and the plucking line have been extended. In conjunction with shock maturation chilling, Bell has added inline electro-stimulation maturation upstream in the process directly after plucking.
Marel poultry equipment in the evisceration department has also been upgraded, once again to cope with the higher line speeds.
2 x 2 IRIS
After evisceration and at an early stage in the process, the front and back sides of each product are visually graded by two IRIS systems. When the new maturation tunnel started up, Bell felt three hours was a relatively short time to plan production. The speed with which IRIS provides information is, however, a great help in making the necessary decisions.
“We are already noticing increased accuracy in differentiating specific quality parameters; together with Marel, we will be able to take this even further. There is potential for the further overall integration of data flows between Innova food processing software, the PDS module and our ERP,” says Thomas Graf.
Having left the chilling tunnel, products pass a new weighing and grading line. Here they are inspected once again by two IRIS systems. As the skin is no longer wet and shiny, better evaluation of epidermis quality is possible, resulting in the product being distributed with “Swiss precision”.
Cut-up and filleting
Besides upgrading the existing ACM-NT cut-up line, Bell installed a second ACM-NT line. The same goes for the AMF filleting line: two existing AMF’s were upgraded with the latest modules and techniques, while a new, identical third one was installed.
Three single lane SmartLine Graders are grading fillets, while a fourth, dual lane, SmartLine Grader grades wings.