Vodnanska Drubez renews secondary process

Czech poultry processor sees cut-up business growing in the future

Vodnanska Cut Up

“Last year, together with Marel, we significantly renewed the secondary process of cutting, deboning, calibrating and batching chicken at our plant in Vodnany,” the words of Milan Riha, Managing Director of Vodnanska Drubez. “We needed to increase capacity and were looking for ways of enhancing performance and product quality.”

“Czech supermarket chains are moving increasingly to unit-weight-unit-price packs. We were keen to automate this laborintensive process and reduce giveaway. Another supermarket priority is ensuring that their fillet products do not contain bone fragments or any other contaminants. We wanted to address this too.”
For the renewal, Marel supplied an all-new ACM-NT cut-up line, two AMF-i semi-automatic breast cap filleting lines, a whole leg deboning line, SensorX bone detection equipment, a grader, a Multihead Weigher, a RoboBatcher and an I-Cut122 system, when put together becoming a ‘Robot with a Knife’. At the same time, Marel was able to incorporate Vodnanska Drubez’ existing Marel equipment in the new process.

Growing cut-up business

Vodnanska Drubez already had many years’ experience of Marel automatic cut-up and breast deboning systems. Milan Riha continues, “with our new ACM-NT system, cut-up capacity is now considerably greater. We are also able to cut wings into their individual joints, which increases the range of wing products we can offer our customers. We have left space for a second ACM-NT system, as we see our cut-up business growing in the future.”

Vodnanska Products

Breast and leg deboning

Milan Riha is particularly enthusiastic about Vodnanska Drubez’ new AMF-i breast cap filleting systems. “We can produce a wide variety of breast fillet products on the two systems. We particularly like the system’s ability to adjust its modules to each individual breast cap. We now have even higher yields and even better product quality.” SensorX bone detection equipment finishes off the breast fillet operation, guaranteeing that all fillets are free of residual bone and other contaminants. Vodnanska Drubez debones some 30% of its legs on a new whole leg deboning line. Much of the leg meat produced goes into the company’s wide range of tasty further processed products.

Minimal giveaway

Vodnanska Drubez already knew the value the I-Cut 122 system could bring to their operation. The decision to buy a second system speaks for itself. Milan Riha comments, “We have always wanted to produce various products from fresh deboned meat of a uniform shape and weight, which is what our retail and catering customers expect from us. With the second I-Cut, we have effectively doubled capacity in an area important both for us and our customers.” Creating fixed-weight packs by hand is labor-intensive and can result in unacceptably high giveaway, two good reasons for automation. Vodnanska Drubez now operates a ‘Robot with a Knife’, for fresh fixed-weight fillet packs and a Marel Multihead Weigher for fixed-weight packs of fresh or frozen bone-in and boneless portions.

Vodnanska I Cut

Innovative technologies

Milan Riha comments, “We are delighted with our Robot with a Knife, which has saved us a lot of labor and significantly reduced giveaway. We like the intelligent way Marel has combined two technologies, RoboBatcher and I-Cut 122, to give us exactly the pack weights we want. If incoming fillet needs trimming to fit the pack size we are producing, TrimSort ensures that this trim is kept separate. The packs look good too, as this clever machine also arranges fillets neatly on their trays. With RoboBatcher, Multihead Weigher and our new Marel grader, we are extremely flexible and can now satisfy automatically virtually any customer demand for sized or fixed weight packs using one of these automation systems.

Successful implementation despite Covid

The upgrade took place last year during the first Covid wave. Milan Riha continues, “Covid made life difficult both for us and for Marel. We were very happy with the way Marel dealt with this difficult situation. Their back-up both from Boxmeer and on-site in Vodnany was first-rate and gave us all the confidence we needed. We are happy with the performance of the equipment. It has most certainly met our expectations.” Vodnanska Drubez aims to update its primary process in Vodnany next year. There are also plans to buy new equipment for the broiler processing plant at Modrice near Brno. Marel is confident that it can expand a relationship, which goes back many years.

“We can satisfy virtually any customer demand for sized or fixed weight packs.”

Milan Riha
Managing director Vodnanska Drubez

About Vodnanska Drubez

Vodnanska Drubez is the largest broiler integration in the Czech Republic and the country’s only volume duck producer. The company makes a wide range of fresh and frozen broiler and duck items ranging from fresh and frozen whole birds and portions to a comprehensive selection of further processed ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products. Vodnanska Drubez has two processing plants for broiler products and one for ducks.

Vodnanska Drubez
Vodnanska Building

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