The Meyn-Ishida alliance has completed the installation of a chicken processing and packing plant in Russia’s Belgorod province for poultry giant ZAO Prioskolie. The state-of-the-art facility includes Ishida’s recently-developed weigh-batching technology, which has revolutionised the speed, accuracy and compactness of styling and packing operations.
Prioskolie is Russia’s largest poultry producer, involved in breeding, rearing, feed production and processing. Meyn-Ishida is an alliance formed between Ishida and Meyn, the leading poultry processing equipment and systems producer, in order to offer complete, single-source processing and packing plants, typically on greenfield sites.
Scope of work
Prioskolie wished to scale up its operations and at the same time to reap the benefits of an integrated manufacturing execution system from a single supplier. Specifically, the company was looking for a plant that could ensure the highest yield from each delivery of live birds, together with the most efficient use of manpower and automation, as well as the fullest degree of control and traceability.
This implied that the chosen supplier would need to be expert in every department, from live bird handling and gas stunning through to the management of crates and trays. Meyn-Ishida was selected by Prioskolie to design, supply and install a new 10,500bph (birds per hour) plant at Valuyki, to be capable of expansion to 12,000 bph.
From whole chicken to pack of pieces
In Meyn-Ishida’s integrated plant design, plucked and eviscerated birds are automatically assessed for packing whole or for cut-up. Overall, about 50% follow the whole-bird packing channel, while 50% are rehung and enter one of the two cut up lines. This versatile section can be programmed to cut to a number of different patterns, yielding a wide variety of pieces, following the sequence wings-breasts-legs.
Whatever the piece-pattern chosen, the resulting pieces are fed to four complete lines, each capable of composing well-styled, tightly weight-controlled packs of wings, legs, breasts or other cuts, then delivering them for flow-wrapping, labelling, placing in crates and palletising.
Goodbye to grading
An efficient poultry processing factory can convert a single bird into its programmed cut-up pieces within minutes. To operate at today’s speeds of thousands of birds an hour, all these pieces need to be handled as separate streams from the second they are produced. There can be no ‘queuing’ of breasts behind legs behind wings.
So each cut needs a separate processing channel. To dedicate a bulky grader to each would be enormously expensive in terms of space alone and would not produce particularly accurate pack weights. Until recently this was nevertheless the way most poultry processing and packing factories operated.
Weigh-batching: today’s way forward
The solution adapted at Prioskolie and other recent Meyn-Ishida installations is to produce highly accurate weighings at high speed, which are then placed in trays and all necessary manual adjustments made to ensure perfect presentation. This is achieved using Ishida Weigh-Batchers.
Each of the four weigh-batchers at Prioskolie comprises an Ishida R-Series Multihead Weigher, a 16 station batching table and the belts, diverters and signalling systems that enable optimal synergy between automation and human operators.
The Ishida weighers are Screw Feeder models, able to handle sticky chicken and other fresh meat gently but at high speed. Belts positioned a few feet above the work surface take the weight measurement towards the workstations. As a batch approaches a workstation, which has capacity, a diverter arm sweeps the product off the belt into the upper level of the station, where it is held over a gate, while a light indicates its presence to the operator.
When ready, the operator pushes into place an ‘intermediate’ tray, which causes the gate to open and the weight load to fall into the tray.
The operator transfers the contents of the intermediate tray to a packing one, and positions them for optimum presentation. The packed tray is then placed on a belt leading to the wrapping and labelling section. When the operator is ready, they push the empty tray back into place, triggering the release of the next weighing.
More chickens per pack
Prioskolie are very pleased with the resultant throughput. An entire batch of more than 24,000 birds can be handled from live entry to flow-wrapped trays in about two hours and 20 minutes.
For a single 830g pack of drumsticks, for example, the whole process from cut-up system to flow-wrapped tray takes as little as 60 seconds. The weigh-batcher performance capacity is 40tpm (trays per minute). The target performance is 32tpm, and it is currently attaining 28tpm.
More packs per chicken
The weigh-batcher approach is very accurate indeed. Giveaway is very low, despite the demanding minimum weight regulations that operate in Russia. For wings and thighs it is as little as 0.2%.
A highly efficient operation
With regard to efficiency, according to Production Manager Sergey Vyacheslavovich Chasovskikh, the availability of the equipment is 95%, while performance is 80% and quality is 97%, giving an overall equipment efficiency (OEE) for weighing and packing of 73.7%.
Prioskolie were impressed not just with the technology of the new plant, but with the extent to which Meyn-Ishida were able to integrate across all activities. For example, each multihead weigher can assess the input of pieces it is receiving and cue the cut-up centre to send it lighter, heavier or more varied pieces to help it improve pack weight accuracy.
"In the end, what it comes down to is value for money," says Sergey Vyacheslavovich Chasovskikh.