Wipasz S.A. has built a reputation as the pre-eminent Polish manufacturer of animal feeding-stuffs. In recent years, Wipasz has turned its attention to developing its meat division. To achieve its ambition to become a leading processor of poultry, Wipasz prioritised the construction of a state-of-the-art plant, delivering safe and hygienic manufacturing processes.
The company made the decision to buy a small slaughterhouse in the town of Mława in the north of Poland, with the intention of creating one of the most technologically-advanced processing plants. The plan was achieved successfully and the slaughterhouse is now one of the leading examples of technological advancement in the industry.
Mława slaughterhouse reconstructed
The first phase of this major automation project more than doubled processed output. The completion of the second phase - along with the significantly increased speed of the line - means that the number of chickens processed has doubled once again; to a point where the current capacity is 240,000 chickens per day. The whole investment process was finalized in 2015 and Wipasz selected only the market leaders to supply each piece of equipment which has subsequently been installed in the plant.
Once the first phase was complete, Wipasz identified a pressing need for a waste system that would align with their aims of achieving a world-class facility.
Taifun the best fit
The MariMatic Taifun system proved itself the best fit for Wipasz’s ambitions, delivering on all of the crucial criteria laid down by the company. Fundamental to MariMatic’s design is the understanding that poultry processing plants have unique requirements. Illustrating this, the Taifun satisfies the key demand from operators for a waste and by-products management system that provides the highest levels of efficiency. It is a scalable solution that is able to deliver on each phase of a project and is flexible enough to be first choice in various circumstances: whether that involves building a new production facility like Mława, or for the retrofit of an existing plant.
Przemyslaw Potrzuski – a Senior Engineer at Wipasz – was seconded to the Mława plant during the company’s initial investment, and he is part of the team responsible for the installation of the new Taifun waste system. “What prompted our consideration of the Taifun was that we received good information and positive recommendations from other plants. There’s no doubt that the Taifun has a very good overall reputation in the industry. What clinched our commitment was the Taifun’s reliability - in particular the mechanics of the system and the efficiencies it could provide.” He stresses that: “One of the most important features was that it was not a rigid system. The vacuum parts installed to remove the waste meant that it could be collected from anywhere in the plant.”
Vacuum conveying systems are the future
The Taifun’s ability to maximise efficiency and hygiene standards in response to the demanding specifications at the Mława plant, underlines its reputation as the future standard for poultry processing plants. As a comprehensive solution it is able to collect and convey different types of materials; ranging from waste, by-products and raw material to final edible products. An important factor for processors in deciding where to commit their investment as they consider the competing waste systems available.
At Mława, the waste and by-products are collected hygienically to Taifun suction points, which can be comfortably integrated into whatever food processing equipment is being used. These materials are transported smoothly and efficiently through the closed pipeline, then deposited safely to the destination points with a strong vacuum air flow. A key benefit of transferring waste in these closed pipelines is that it prevents food products from becoming contaminated. The vacuum conveyance system is preferable to blowguns; removing the risks that exist through using high air pressure. The Taifun conveying system works essentially like a giant vacuum cleaner.
There is no water needed to transfer the plant’s materials into the pipe network, which is fitted up in the ceiling, and from there throughout the site. If necessary it can be conveyed up to 1,000 metres away. Not having to rely on water for operation can be crucial for processing plants. Their location is often remote, where the water supply may be limited and municipal water treatment cannot be relied upon. That water is separated at an early stage means that the dryer waste material conveyed is also easier to handle, although the product has to retain a certain moisture content to reduce friction.
For the staff at Mława, the Taifun provides safer and more ergonomic working conditions as it is easy for it to be rearranged according to the changing needs of the production facilities. For the management, there is less staff time lost transporting waste bins back and forth, or in cleaning them. As a result the focus is on more productive work tasks.
Installation at Mława
The installation of the Taifun system at the Mława plant took three to four weeks under the supervision of two technicians from MariMatic. Przemyslaw Potrzuski describes the process: “It was easy to install. We were taught how to mount the line; with an emphasis on what is important to achieve to ensure efficiency, in regard to the shape and layout of the system. With this external training we were able to learn the principles of the Taifun very quickly.”
After the intensive installation period, MariMatic ensure that there is continual customer support: “There was good ongoing training with two separate training systems - one for production staff; the other for technicians.” This ongoing support is matched by MariMatic’s reliability with spare parts, as Przemyslaw Potrzuski describes: “All parts, from flow valves to line valves, are supplied very quickly and efficiently, and this helps to ensure there are no costly breaks in production.” To avoid any costly downtime, the company holds a small stock of critical parts at Mlawa - from a list prepared by Marimatic.
Space and energy
In many existing poultry processing plants, traditional methods of waste management - such as fixed conveyor systems - are still being used due to historical use, or the influence of various financial factors. That the Taifun’s piping is installed on the ceiling of a plant saves considerable space in the production area. The footprint of a belt conveyor system can typically be a metre wide and potentially stretch to over 100 metres in length.
Inevitably, having a smaller operating space can positively impact on energy bills and the overall economics of running a successful poultry processing plant. Within the vacuum conveying system there are specific options to save energy; such as the automatic discharge which can be achieved either by level-control or by auto call, or for a manually operated discharge.
However, it isn’t just about economics. There are considerable pressures through legislation for processors to also ensure that plants are operating in an environmentally friendly way. Vacuum conveying systems are an environmentally friendly solution using only air flow; they consume no water for transportation and produce zero pollution.
Flexible waste points
Not every plant operator completely restructures in such a radical manner as Wipasz. In most cases the Taifun can be installed without major changes to the current facilities. Locating the disposal tunnels where the work is carried out, reduces the need for operational staff to lift or over stretch to reach anything. The production area is freed from safety, hygiene and productivity problems associated with bins. The risks of slipping on food remains are eliminated and there are no more waste and by-product load peaks.
After Phase Two of the upgrade, there are now ten waste collection points at Mława and these are distributed over the three separate processing lines. This is broken down as follows: line one and line two have four collection points each; while line three is served by two waste collection points. These existing ten waste points in the new Taifun system serve a total of 1,000 staff at the plant.
Flexibility is the key; as Przemyslaw Potrzuski highlights: “We found it easy to install extra collection points. They can be added very quickly; we installed two extra suction points on line three as it became clear they were needed.” One suction point was added on line three to serve two thigh- deboning lines that were built in the plant. This suction point is employed in collecting the waste bones that result from the process on these lines. On line one the company added a suction point for waste from the cut up area. This is used during cleaning and has considerably improved the conditions of work for the cleaning staff involved.
Food safety a matter of hygiene
Wipasz express their company mission as manufacturing ‘healthy and tasty food’ which comes from a responsibility they recognise for the safe nutrition of all of their customers. The company processes 140 tons of chicken meat daily into 100% calibrated products; including MAP-fixed weight and salmonella free IQF products. The company also holds HACCP, IFS, BRC, QAFP and other relevant certifications.
Wipasz is not alone in the industry. Such concerns for food safety are the primary factors driving many poultry plant upgrades in recent years. As an innovative vacuum conveying solution, the Taifun contributes significantly toward improving hygiene. The waste is immediately removed from the working area as it is generated, which effectively prevents cross contamination between clean and dirty areas.
That all components are constructed of hygienic stainless steel explains why the staff at Mława have found them robust and very easily cleaned. The continuous product flow also means there is no splashing or overflows to the floor. The automatic rinsing after every processing day is one of the reasons why the system is approved for use in food production. The Taifun’s compliance with EU laws and regulations on surface hygiene are consistent with Wipasz’s declarations of intent.
Reflecting on the benefits
Przemyslaw Potrzuski is clear on the range of benefits the Taifun system has provided so far: “The biggest impacts on staff efficiency are all in production, as we have fifteen packing lines in the plant overall. With the system we had before we had to remove the residue from MDM (mechanically deboned meat) manually, now it has been automated by mounting the funnel for the suction point directly under the separator.”
Chicken MDM is a major ingredient in many processed meat products and is an important exported protein source. With the Taifun system, a high amount of food that is edible for human or animal consumption is derived from the process. This process requires less labour and displays typically low running and maintenance costs annually.
Reflecting on the rapid changes, Przemyslaw Potrzuski affirms: “We have no complaints or problems with the system at all. The mechanics of the Taifun are simple to use, well-designed and show little wear and tear.” The development of the Mława plant has turned it into a showcase for the industry: “Future customers are very impressed; they reference the plant and come here to look round and are particularly highly impressed with the MariMatic system.”
And of the experience with MariMatic, he concludes: “MariMatic are willing to support all the way and give advice. It has been a partnership from the first day and one we expect to continue. Wipasz is anticipating the opening of another new plant with high capacity in Poland soon. The process of designing this plant is in progress right now and we are planning to use the Taifun there, as well. We are familiar with it and the experience has been very good.”