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HKScan now cutting chicken with waterjets

Vinderup, Finland-based HKScan has replaced the sharp blades in its chicken processing plant with high-pressure DSI waterjets. The new technology cuts the chicken loin with the cleanest cut the producer has ever seen, René Wibholdt for Food Supply Magazine reports.

HKScan is undergoing a comprehensive transformation, with the major challenge of using raw materials optimally. In short, the upheaval must ensure that several years of red figures on the bottom line are replaced by black ones. And in this context, the new investment in a waterjet plant is a perfect fit.

Whereas the slaughterhouse in Vinderup previously used industrial knives in the processing plant to cut chicken fillets into cubes and strips, the cutting work is now done by high-pressure water jets. Technically, the new plant is equipped with a robot arm with several adjacent nozzles, which emit high-pressure water jets that execute the variable cutting functions.

Inspiration from Sweden
With the remodeling in and around the processing plant, the waterjet solution, which was delivered before Christmas 2020, cost DKK 9.3 million, of which the major part of the investment has gone to the new cutting unit. The repayment period is expected to be two to three years. According to HKScan, the plant at the Vinderup slaughterhouse is the only one of its kind in Denmark.

“The idea for the investment came after a trip to Sweden, where we went around to see the shops. There, we quickly came across the beautiful cuts on the strips and cubes lying in a refrigerated display case. So we decided that such high quality is also something we would like to offer our customers,” said Sales Director Morten Cederberg, HKScan Denmark A/S.

With the new technology, HKScan is beginning to deliver to the convenience store category. Photo: HKScan

“We currently sell cubes and strips, but the cuts themselves are not as attractive and uniform when done with a knife. So with the new technology and high quality, we are confident that we can increase future sales in this category. This is also absolutely necessary in order to recoup the investment,” he added.

In addition to strips and cubes, the plant can also cut the breast fillets crosswise (horizontally). This cut gives the consumer a minute fillet that fits ideally with the convenience trend. “It reduces the cooking time, and consumers can now prepare the product in half the time. We believe that many consumers will be pleased with this in their busy workday,” said Cederberg.

New category in place
The next step for HK SCAN is the launch of ready-fried strips and cubes. “Here we are looking at a category characterised by foreign products. Fortunately, our customers are asking for Danish chicken, and we can now help them with this. Basically, importing chicken meat transported over long distances makes no sense. So we strongly believe that Danish consumers will support the new products. The category of ready-fried strips and cubes will be brand new to us. Now we will have exposure on the cold-cuts shelf,” explained the Sales Director.

Until now, the chicken producer was not able to offer ready-fried cubes and strips, but this is now possible with the investment in a new frying line, which is located at the factory in Skovsgaard.

The bag has been shaken
Morten Cederberg expects strong growth in the brand new category, where the products can be eaten directly from the pack or used in a salad or packed lunch. 

“That’s what works. Consumers demand convenience, and therefore we must do much more in processed foods”, he said. The number of chickens slaughtered in Denmark remains unchanged at HKScan.

“To meet the demand for the waterjet range and the ready-fried variants, we will move meat from individual export markets and instead sell it in Denmark. It is basically a question of where we can earn the most from the meat,” Cederberg indicated.

The transformation must simply put a large full-stop on the number of years with a deficit.

Cederborg explained: “By focusing more on refined and specialised products, our production becomes more complex. We have to move the raw materials from Vinderup to Skovsgård, but that’s how it is. We have decided on a new strategy, and now we must concentrate on getting the initiatives to succeed.”

Investments in welfare
HKScan is also ready with welfare chickens, which are currently being launched in the grocery retail chains. It’s a different breed – Range Gold – than the conventional chickens. They weigh pretty much the same, but get more space in the chicken house and access to the outside area. They are slaughtered after 46-47 days, whereas for conventional chickens it is typically 34 days. Welfare chicken is produced by farmers who have previously supplied organic chickens to HKScan.

“We are in a transformation process where we must focus on where we can basically earn the most from our raw materials,” Cederberg said.

Reference: Original article, ”Nu skærer HKScan kylling med vandstråler” af René Wibholdt for Food Supply Magazine / Jern & Maskinindustrien under Nordiske Medier

JBT PROCARE helps Nabil Foods run 24/7

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Unexpected delays can be significant for any food processing company, but for Nabil Foods, the largest producer of chilled and frozen food products in Jordan, running 24/7 to meet production schedules and deliver high quality, consistent products means there is no room for unplanned downtime.

JBT’s PRoCARE® Service Agreements are about making sure equipment and production performs to an optimum level, while minimizing downtime, and in recent years its focus on preventative maintenance has developed into a key component of Nabil Foods’ business.

Crucial support
Nabil Foods produces a high-end range of beef and chicken burgers, nuggets and ready meals, as well as desserts, which are supplied to retail and foodservice customers across the entire Middle East and North Africa region. The company has long worked with JBT, and in fact JBT has been Nabil Foods’ sole supplier of coating, frying, cooking and freezing equipment for more than 15 years.

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However, having a JBT PRoCARE Service agreement in place has been vital in keeping the company’s 10+ production lines running 24/7, according to CEO Ahmed Sallakh. “We are very pleased with JBT and the direction of our partnership,” he said. “The machinery is performing at its best, but as important, is the support from JBT’s after sales service. We are able to run 24/7 because of JBT.”

With Nabil Foods currently achieving double digit sales growth, Mr Sallakh stresses that such support is crucial to ensuring production does not slow down, while maintaining the firm’s leading position in the market.

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Preventative maintenance
In 2018, Nabil Foods was faced with several downtime challenges following postponement of the renewal for its PRoCARE service agreement with JBT. A lack of preventative maintenance led to a number of technical issues and breakdowns during the years, with the unplanned downtime starting to affect revenue. Nabil Foods renewed its PRoCARE agreement in early 2019 and has since seen unplanned downtime dropping by 48% compared with 2018, with worn parts being replaced before potential problems become a reality.

Mr Ahmed Hussein, Engineering Manager at Nabil Foods, said: “JBT has supported us with patience, knowledge and generosity to resolve an array of challenges we were facing and to continuously develop our equipment and internal engineering services. Fundamentally, they have become a key partner for our organization, and from my standpoint, I couldn’t have expected better.”

Find out more about Nabil Foods

Learn more about JBT PRoCARE Service Agreements

JBT iOPS helps Öresundschark boost capacity and production hours

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Utilizing production capacity to its maximum and avoiding unplanned downtime is essential for any protein producer, and having the tools in place to make this happen can bring both piece of mind and help increase profits. This was certainly the case for Swedish meatball producer Öresundschark AB, which has recorded benefits for its business from opting for JBT’s innovative Industrial Internet of Things performance optimization platform, iOPS®.

Öresundschark AB connected their Frigoscandia freezer to iOPS two years ago and since then their capacity utilization has increased significantly and made life a lot easier for Production and Maintenance Manager Johan Rulander. By having machinery connected, Rulander has been able to monitor and detect worn parts or potential issues before they become problems, enabling him to improve the overall efficiency of his operations and avoid unplanned downtime. 

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Öresundschark’s Johan Rulander with the JBT iOPS platform

Furthermore, Rulander can now quickly trouble-shoot and easily provide remote support to his production team when needed, by having machine and system data in real-time through an app on his mobile phone. “I can quickly identify the issue by checking the alarms and give advice how to fix it without having to drop what I’m doing and rush down to production to solve the issue personally,” he says. “This gives both me and the team piece of mind, and they are not as reluctant to call me and ask when issues arises and I’m reassured production will run smoothly without my presence.” 

New methods
JBT iOPS® has led to a completely new way of planning production and machine maintenance through predictive data for Öresundschark, according to Rulander, who regularly consults the live data feed on his phone. “I check how the machine has been running on the late shifts and I can see cleaning stops and estimate drying time to know when I can start-up production again in the morning,” he explains. 

iOPS allows for connected equipment and operation monitoring, providing food manufacturers with new and unique possibilities to ensure sustainable and profitable growth through insights and proactive actions that would not have been possible to achieve in a profitable way before.

“I keep an eye on the air temperatures inside the freezer, and if they are running high for a longer period, we plan for extra defrost programs to maximize running time,” continues Rulander. “Over time, the freezing belt wears and overstretches and with inductive sensors I can monitor this and plan maintenance stops when I want them, and adjust it in good time before issues arise.”

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Every food processing company knows that the key to a successful and profitable business is to keep production running without disruption. Every extra hour of production equals profit and money in the pocket.

“We run at a high pace and during certain periods we produce seven days a week, so at these times there is no room for downtime,” says Rulander. “Timely maintenance and proactively replacing parts before they break plays a major role in minimizing downtime and saving money.” 

About Öresundschark
Öresundschark AB has been a high valued partner of JBT since moving to Malmö, Sweden in 1999. A local family-owned business founded in 1997, Öresundschark’s high quality products have been awarded with the EU Ecolabel, a mark of environmental excellence. They produce a wide range of meat patties, chicken- and meatballs and supply the largest convenience retailers all over the region. Around 30 employees work at Öresundschark AB and their production plant generates 5,000 tons of fried, frozen and chilled products every year, all of which are processed using JBT equipment. 

Öresundschark is aiming to expand its product portfolio to also include vegetarian alternatives and to ramp up productivity to reach a yearly production of 8,000 tons. “JBT ́s iOPS will help us achieve these targets faster by enabling us to run our production longer and more efficiently,” adds Rulander. 

For more information about Öresundschark AB, visit: oresundschark.se 

Find out more about JBT iOPS

Prime Equipment highlights yield, efficiency and safety improvements in poultry processing

Worker safety is always a concern in modern poultry processing plants, and one area where JBT-Prime Equipment Group offers a significant upgrade to worker safety is in gizzard processing. JBT’s Prime Equipment Group is now offering a system that takes care of splitting, cleaning and reprocessing chicken and turkey gizzards, without allowing access to blades or peeler-rollers, marking a significant safety upgrade for the industry.

This is just one of many new developments by Prime Equipment Group – one of the most recent additions to the JBT family – which specializes in first and second processing, covering everything from feather removal to cut-up and deboning, including skinning, wing segmenting and its industry-leading water re-use installations.

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The AGP-T Automatic Gizzard Peeler (De-Liner)

Here’s a quick look at a few of the company’s solutions:

The latest version of Prime’s patented poultry skinner, the CSK-3, announced earlier this year, is the narrowest skinner on the market, and continues to use Prime’s patented skinning technology. Effective at removing skin from cut-up chicken including breast and thighs, the CSK-Series platform is the industry standard for skinning, now in a compact format to fit the tightest layout.

Water conservation and re-use is increasingly important for poultry processors, and Prime continues to lead the field since it assisted the USDA in writing the regulations allowing re-use in poultry plants more than two decades ago. Prime’s re-use technology can save many thousands of gallons per day, helping companies to meet sustainability goals.

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Also new in the Prime portfolio is a laser and vision scanner aimed at quality control efforts that works well on the incoming loading dock, as well as verifying compliance with specifications of final product after packout. Able to scan and record dimensions, color, weight, as well as scan for product deformities, the QCC Quality Check Console eliminates data collection and logging errors and speeds up QC processes – and can even be integrated into existing QC systems.

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Prime is also a leader in turkey production, designing, manufacturing and delivering complete lines for turkey processing. Its all-new OSC-1 Overhead Cut-up Line for Turkey completely automates several processes, including, turkey halving, turkey leg removal and splitting drum from thigh, all without requiring labor. Further, the turkey front half can be completely de-boned on the ILBD-3T Turkey Inline Breast Deboner with minimal labor, for a complete solution.


For more information about JBT-Prime Equipment group solutions, visit the company’s website, or call directly at 614-253-8590.

From demonstrations to innovations: JBT’s Food Technology Centers

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JBT’s Food Technology Centers (FTC) provide a resource where customers can view JBT equipment and solutions first-hand, see how they work, and even run their own products through the system to experience the kinds of results that can be achieved. One of the longest-established is the JBT FTC in Helsingborg, Sweden, which has served as a popular destination for hundreds of food processors for more than 40 years.

The Helsingborg FTC gives customers the opportunity to test, simulate production, conduct research, as well as optimizing and developing new applications and products using JBT’s latest processing solutions. 

“We can demonstrate equipment to customers, show them how it works, and also run their products in the machine, so it’s possible to see the results they will get,” explains Martin Andersson, JBT’s Application Manager of Value Stream Spiral Freezers and head of the Helsingborg facility.

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“If a customer is hoping to achieve a certain color with a grilled chicken piece or wants to see if it’s possible to achieve a certain coating, texture or quality on a battered and breaded product, they can visit the Food Technology Centre and we can show them what’s possible with our machines.”

Complete solution
The Helsingborg FTC started life in the 1970s as a laboratory for measuring freezing times, but as the facility has grown and added more equipment over the years, it has evolved into a resource where JBT not only showcases solutions, but also refines applications and assists customers with food product development.

The 2000m² test area is now equipped with fully functioning JBT processing equipment in order to provide customers with a complete food processing plant.

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“We are now up to a facility with the ability to run a full TwinDrum Oven, we have a Double D Revoband cooker, we have Formcook Contact cookers, coating lines, a full GYRoCOMPACT Spiral freezer and a complete Advantec impingement freezer,” says Andersson. “We can also show FloFREEZE freezers in our assembly facility, plus we have a full-size Stein TFF fryer there for demonstration, as well as a smaller FA5 fryer.”

Although it might not always be possible to replicate precisely the same pre-processing of products in Helsingborg compared with a customer’s own facility, Andersson says technicians at the FTC are relentless in trying to achieve exactly the correct taste, finish and texture.

But if the exact product cannot be reproduced at the FTC, technicians can bring equipment to the customer’s site for testing in their own environment. “We are not satisfied until the customer is,” Andersson adds.

JBT also has FTCs near Edinburgh in the UK, Sandusky, Ohio in the US, and an Innovation Center in Kunshan, China. 

Learn more about the JBT Food Technology Centers

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