How to process poultry with limited water and energy availability?

Avoiding the wasteful use of potentially scarce utilities is a top priority for Marel

Scalding Plucking 2400

Coping with shortages of energy and water is a problem faced every day by many poultry processors on the dry and hot continents. Global warming is set to make large tracts of these countries even drier and hotter than they are today. Both water and energy are essential for processing chicken. The process should use no more of either than strictly necessary.

Three vital process steps, which use a lot of water, are scalding, plucking and chilling. Water is also necessary for washing carcasses at various stages during the process, for removing waste such as feathers and inedible offal and for thoroughly cleaning equipment, once processing has finished.

Examples of energy-consuming processes are scalding, plucking, removing waste, chilling, freezing and conveying carcasses from process to process. Avoiding the wasteful use of potentially scarce utilities is a top priority for Marel, when designing its processing equipment.

Scalder 1000 BPH 2

Scalding = water + energy

Scalding systems typically use a lot of water and energy. Marel scalding systems are very compact, meaning less water to heat up at the beginning of production and less highly contaminated water to discharge when production ends. Forceful scald water agitation is essential for efficient heat transfer to the feather follicle. Marel does this by blowing air into the hot water through nozzles built into the bottom of the scald tank. This saves up to 50% when compared to mechanical agitation. All Marel scalding systems come complete with canopies, cutting heat loss by up to 40%. Processors can choose between steam and hot water to heat up scald water and keep it at temperature. In both cases, servo-controlled hot water supply valves – controlled by an accurate water temperature monitoring system – ensure that no precious energy goes to waste.

Plucker 1000 BPH

Plucking without excess water

Marel pluckers have features, which help combat the wastage of water and energy. All have integral feather curtains and are enclosed at the top. The latter feature keeps shackle drop rods free of feathers; the former ensures that all feathers are diverted downwards into the feather flume, keeping the area around the pluckers clean. Both encourage good housekeeping without using excessive volumes of wash-down water.

When production finishes, maintenance staff simply wind out individual plucker cabinets, creating excellent access for the precisely targeted cleaning of plucking fingers and discs. Electric motors drive plucking discs via double vee belts. These belts ensure that there is no slippage and no wastage of energy.

Vacuum Pump Feathers

Water recycling

Water washes feathers from the pluckers into the feather flume. For feather removal, Marel can supply a totally enclosed system, consisting of feather and recirculation pumps, a rotary separator and an optional feather press. This continuously recycles water to the start of the feather flume. Although the electrically driven rotary separator separates wet feathers from transport water, a feather press does the job even more efficiently, allowing the recycling of yet more water.

An offal pump pumps waste from the evisceration department over a rotary separator to remove all solids. The resulting liquid effluent cannot be recycled without further treatment.

Water Chilling

How to freeze products efficiently?

Many start-up plants in emerging countries will freeze their chicken products, as these will be familiar to their markets and much easier to handle. Subsequent freezing means chilling in water. Marel can supply counter-flow screw chilling systems, which use ice water or flake ice. The fixed speed of the transport screw determines the time carcasses spend in the system. Air agitation, provided by a blower, ensures the water pick-up allowed by the authorities. This percentage varies from market to market, as does the amount of water added for each carcass processed. Compared to air chilling, chilling in water uses much less energy but, unavoidably, much more water.

Water Treatment Start Up2400

Water treatment

All plants that have to cope with a water shortage problem, if they do not have one already, should seriously consider investing in a water treatment plant. Marel offers primary, secondary and tertiary systems, which treat effluent for discharge into sewers or watercourses, for irrigation, even for re-use by the processing plant itself. All will depend on the degree of treatment required. Any system chosen should capture and treat as much process and wash-down water as possible, including water carried out by carcasses from scalding and chilling systems. The overriding aim is to reduce the plant’s water footprint to an absolute minimum.

Processing sustainably

Marel is a full-line supplier, offering all processing equipment and systems from live bird intake to final product labeling. The company has a wealth of experience gained from many projects, both large and small. Marel is active everywhere poultry is processed industrially and knows in detail the particular challenges faced by each market on every continent. In our warming world, Marel is committed to processing poultry sustainably with a keen eye on protecting our fragile environment. This includes a commitment to conserving both water and energy, using both as sparingly as possible.

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