Marel Poultry’s smart processing solutions drive performance excellence

scalding plucking marelMarel Poultry is providing integrated poultry processing solutions by offering systems and equipment for all broiler, turkey and duck processing stages, driving performance excellence, food safety and sustainability

For many poultry processors, the difficulty today is finding good labour. Filling all jobs in the plant is becoming a huge challenge. Processors might be considering moving to more automation and becoming less dependent on labour, particularly if the process is largely manual but the need is there for a capacity increase. 

When there is a shortage of skilled manual labour, investing in automation is crucial. When the processing plant grows in capacity, the processes will need to become more industrial and less dependent on labour. 

Each processor can opt for the level of automation which fits best. At every stage in the process, various solutions are available. Usually, the very first steps in automated processing involve scalding and plucking with products shackled to an overhead conveyor. Further steps to reduce the number of operators could involve the evisceration process, semi-automated giblet harvesting, product grading and cut-up. 

Growing with the capacity

Of all the manual operations, it’s most likely to automate evisceration. It is a logical step to progress from manual knives to the Marel Nuova CoreTech automatic eviscerator. This carrousel machine can grow with the increasing capacity. Automatic transfer of the drawn pack to its own pack shackle can be added and the same goes for automatic giblet harvesting. Such important upgrades will be possible without having to invest in completely new machines.

All other operations in the evisceration department from vent cutting and vent opening to neck processing and final inspection can be gradually automated too. 

Counterflow water chilling

Once products have been eviscerated, they must be chilled. In the initial automation phase of a processing plant, they will be chilled by water in a counterflow screw chiller. This guarantees a longer shelf life. Products have to be unloaded from the overhead conveyor to be immersed in the chilled water. They are conveyed by screw into ever colder and cleaner ice water or flake ice water. The water in the system flows in the opposite direction and it is agitated by introducing air, whose volume can be adjusted to give the level of water pick-up required. Auger chillers are modular and can be extended easily. After the chilling process, a drip drum can be applied to remove access water. 

A mix of modules

Once chilled, products must be graded, weighed and packed. Starting from manual work stations equipped with scales and bagging aids, processors will graduate through belt graders, such as the Compact Grader, to a dedicated selection and distribution line. 

Some products will be cut into portions. The cut-up and deboning departments need a lot of human attention if they are not automated. Plenty of options are available for turning these processes into in-line automatic operations without losing yield or compromising product quality or presentation. The Marel ACM-NT Compact cut-up system is an excellent solution to cutting all the products required by customers. Thanks to its modular configuration, the available wing, leg and breast cutting modules, which meet all standards for skilled manual cuts, can be engaged or disengaged. By putting together a customized mix of ACM-NT cutting modules, it’s even possible to satisfy cutting requirements specific to a particular region. 

The right level of automation

In the filleting department, Marel’s AMF-i intelligent breast cap deboning system offers the right level of automation for harvesting breast fillets and tenderloins. To perform total leg deboning, the Thigh Fillet and the Drumstick Deboning Systems work closely together to produce deboned poultry leg meat fully automatically with no need for any manual input, another opportunity to make considerable labour savings.

Weighing, grading, batching, packing and labelling are also manual operations that can be turned into automated processes.

Achieving performance, food safety and sustainability

All customers, be they supermarkets, quick service restaurants or wholesalers, demand a wide variety of end products from whole grillers to cut portions, all custom packed. Marel Poultry is a first-rate partner for processors who are looking for ways to respect local and traditional food cultures while combining performance, food safety and sustainability. You’ll be able to keep control of the quality standards your markets and consumers are demanding.

For more information, go to

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W:

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