Marel’s Chinese service team can’t be stopped!

Despite pandemic, installation and commissioning in China continued

Shenyang Huamei Thumbs Big

Early 2020, the outbreak of the coronavirus sealed Wuhan and quarantined entire China, grounded international flights, and forced the cancellation of foreign experts' on-site support. What about the planned installation and commissioning of poultry processing plants in different parts of China? At this critical moment, the engineers of the Marel China service team did not hesitate; they decided to continue and and overcame all difficulties to complete various projects, such as Jinan Yufei, Hebei Juxing, Shenyang Huamei and Changchun Yenken.

Almost all Marel poultry processing equipment is developed and manufactured in Europe, and European engineers mostly fly in to assist in installing and commissioning of the equipment on-site in China. However, this was impossible in pandemic times. Luckily, already in 2019, Marel China started training local engineers to complete projects independently. This lifted the Chinese engineering workforce to a high level of knowledge, which was just in time, because a record number of new projects was won by Marel China.
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Marel China service team could have their real baptism of fire. Facing issues such as travel restrictions, challenging new commissioning jobs and the absence of experts from abroad, the Marel China team overcame all difficulties. Assisted remotely by Marel’s experts in Europe, the team was able to maintain service quality and time planning. In spite of the pandemic, the Chinese service team completed multiple projects, allowing the customers’ processing plants to run without production delays.

Jinan Yufei

On January 27, 2020, on the third day of the Chinese New Year, Marel's service engineers were scheduled to go to the Jinan Yufei plant for the evisceration line install. By this time, the Covid-19 outbreak had already occurred in Wuhan and a state of emergency was declared throughout the country. Many companies stopped dispatching service workers. However, two engineers from Marel, Zhisheng Zhang and Yong Zhao, went to Jinan Yufei’s site to install and adjust the new evisceration line under tremendous pressure as scheduled. As all local hotels were closed, the two engineers were forced to stay at the customer site during the 10-day installation period, which was more difficult than expected. Even though they had no place to eat and stay, the two engineers still carried out the installation zealously, and even worked overtime until midnight to ensure the quality the customer expects from Marel. Despite all obstacles, they completed the installation and Jinan Yufei could start production as scheduled. Special thanks go out to Zhisheng Zhang and Yong Zhao for their dedication.

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Jinan Yufei

Marel’s Chinese service engineers at work at Jinan Yufei.

Hebei Juxing

The commissioning of the two evisceration lines, four ACM lines and eight AMF-i filleting lines in the  Hebei Juxing plant was a very challenging job. Not only because of the many production lines and time constraints, but also because of the two 13,500 high-speed evisceration lines. Particularly the adjusting of the ATC control system required experienced skills, usually executed by engineers from abroad. After the Covid-19 outbreak, a team of local Chinese engineers stepped forward to do the commissioning work by themselves. Assisted remotely by Marel experts in other parts of the world, the Chinese team explored the situation. As Hebei Juxing was impressed by the efforts and the responsible attitude of the Marel team, the company decided to contact the local government to coordinate the resources. That’s how Marel’s engineer from abroad was allowed to visit the customer's site for assistance in the project. After a month of hard work, the entire equipment installation, including the commissioning of ATC in the two evisceration lines, was successfully completed. This project enabled our local Marel Chinese engineers to gain experience in adjusting complex ATC control systems.
The engineers involved in this project were Jiang Jing (Customer Service Manager), Zhang Bo, Zhang Zhisheng, Zhang Tiefeng, Zhao Yong, Yang Fengyong, Hou Yanlei, and Chi Jun and Rodolfo SanPascual.

Hebi Juxing Marel Service Team

A work meeting and a haphazard meal for the engineers in a temporary office area converted from containers at the client's office.

Shenyang Huamei

For the install of Shenyang Huamei's new TSO Oven equipment, Dutch engineers were scheduled to visit the processing plant around the Spring Festival. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, they couldn’t come to China. By the beginning of April, Shenyang Huamei's couldn‘t wait any longer, and the project was to be commissioned by Chinese engineers. It so happened that the control system of the equipment had been upgraded, which was also unfamiliar to the Dutch engineers. This even increased the difficulties faced by the Chinese engineers. Finally, customer service manager Jiang Jing and engineers Liu Fei and Liu Zubo analyzed the situation. They concluded that the team had plenty of knowledge of the operation of the hardware equipment to go for it. They contacted the Dutch experts in charge of the equipment, and after many remote meetings, communication and coordination, the installation and commissioning were successful in the end.
Service engineer Liu Zubo deserves a special mention. His wife, who is a doctor, was called away for an important rescue job during the Spring Festival and Liu Zubo had to take care of their 7-year-old daughter. Realizing the importance of the commissioning tasks for the customer, he entrusted his child to his in-laws and devoted himself fully to his work. Marel sincerely thanks Liu Zubo for making this choice.

Shenyang Huamei Work Big

Two engineers at work in Shenyang Huamei’s plant late at night

Changchun Yunken

Just like the Hebei Juxing project, the commissioning of Changchun Yunken’s ATC in the 13,500 bph evisceration line was a challenging task. Having previously worked on the Hebei Juxing project, Marel's local service engineers had gained plenty of experience. The local engineers were able to operate independently, without needing the support of experts from abroad. Given the fact that Changchun Yunken already had started production in the meantime, the commissioning time was surprisingly short, taking only 10 days to complete. Despite all difficulties met, the equipment ran smoothly, without any problems. Having all these practical experiences in extraordinary circumstances behind them, the skills of Marel's Chinese engineers have grown to a similar level to that of the experts from abroad. Participating in this project were customer service manager Jiang Jing, engineers Zhang Tiefeng and Park Yihu.

Changchun Yunken

Strict screening before entering the site.

The Covid-19 outbreak has made service work in China extremely difficult, but Marel’s service team hasn’t slowed down. Instead, the overall service level even improved during the pandemic. In future, Marel’s Chinese service team will be able to do more excellent jobs, serving customers in China.


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