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Plukon about ATLAS: “Animal welfare clearly benefits”

14 Aug 2018

World’s first user of ATLAS highly satisfied and chooses ATLAS again

Dutch poultry processor Plukon Food Group was the world’s first company to install a Stork ATLAS live bird handling system at its Maasmechelen facility in Belgium. Plukon is so satisfied with ATLAS, that the company has ordered a second system, which will soon be installed at the plant in Goor, the Netherlands.

Michiel Klopstra, Director Operations at Plukon Food Group, tells about his experiences with ATLAS.
 

ATLAS system at Plukon in Maasmechelen

Q: What were your expectations for the ATLAS system?

A: “Prior to the installation, at Plukon we had high expectations of the ATLAS system. That is why we decided to join Marel Poultry in further developing this system. We were excited to know if the system could solve all issues and maintain the same good properties we knew from other systems.”
 

Q: Plukon was the very first company to install the ATLAS system. Has ATLAS met all expectations?

A: “Of course, we identified some issues that could be improved over time, which is only logical with an all-new system. In the end, all of this has resulted in a magnificent, functional system with maximum attention to animal welfare, efficiency and tray hygiene.”
 

Q: Plukon has been using the ATLAS system for some time now. What is the most striking long-term effect?

A: “Animal welfare before slaughtering clearly benefits. During catching and stunning, the system obviously has many animal welfare assets. An additional benefit is that trucks are loaded more efficiently too.”
 

Q: How have farmers and transporters reacted to the system?

A: “Catching teams and transporters are also very positive about ATLAS. The large loading opening of SmartStack has made catching much easier. The floors slide smoothly and the whole system is very robust.” 
 

Q: What are your main improvements?

A: “We definitely need fewer truck movements and we have seen that birds are less stressed. Broilers stay in the tray through the CAS stunning system right up to shackling. They therefore avoid the major stress factors which other systems subject them to. This absence of stress also benefits product quality.”|

Plukon Food Group

plukonfoodgroup.com

 

ANIMAL WELL-BEING

Animal well-being was a key factor when developing the ATLAS system. Once in the SmartStack modules, broilers have plenty of headroom, in fact the most in the industry. During transport, birds in distress can easily be taken out of the tray through removable side panels.

Birds stay in the transport tray until they are shackled to the processing line for electrical stunning or pass through a fully integrated CAS SmoothFlow system. Any birds dead on arrival can be removed at the start of the process, allowing food safety and religious requirements to be met.
 

ATLAS Live Bird Handling system
 

EFFICIENCY

Besides animal well-being, there are also efficiency benefits that can be seen from ATLAS. On the farm, the SmartStack module shows off the many advantages of its ergonomical design. The wide access for loading significantly reduces the risk of damage and stress to the bird. Combined with the smart floors which slide easily and close off each full tier, the SmartStack construction allows for considerably faster loading with fewer personnel.

Thanks to the ingenious bottom layer which doubles as a pallet, a SmartStack module can contain 38% more broilers than existing systems. This means lower truck transport costs and CO2 footprint.

Its agile construction is a big asset too. As floors (unlike drawers) never protrude beyond the footprint of the module itself, modules can be placed anywhere in the growing shed, even in corners or close to walls.

On the farm and on the truck, SmartStack forms a multi-tier frameless unit. In the plant, the destacking system breaks it down into individual trays, ready for processing.