Maximising potential in the processing line

Maximising potential in the processing line

Improved yield, reduced waste, reliability and hygiene are currently the 4 main drivers in the food processing equipment market according to food technology, processing equipment and ingredients specialists Interfood.

Mark Bishop is joint Managing Director of the Oxfordshire based business and comments – “High yield has long been a prime goal, particularly in higher value meat products where reducing the amount of waste is a crucial element in maximising profit margins in what is a very competitive market.  Reliability of machinery is also important to minimise downtime on a production line given the significant financial consequences this can bring, especially for high speed lines where even relatively short stops in production can be very costly.  And then there is hygiene which is a basic expectation from food producers, with food safety, quite rightly, being a non-negotiable element of meat processing.”

Interfood has long offered a wide range of meat processing equipment and ingredients, numbering many of the major names in UK and Irish meat processing amongst its customers. As the business has developed, so has the need to specialise in specific areas and Interfood now  has seven divisions, all operating under the Interfood umbrella but offering specific capabilities and dedicated teams of engineers and support personnel. These divisions are part of Interfood’s ‘total processing’ philosophy and allows the company to maintain a clear focus on specific processes and products.

Alco added to Interfood machinery offering
The most recent addition to the range of machinery manufacturers for whom Interfood is the sole distributor in the UK and Ireland is Alco.  Alco is based in Germany and has been manufacturing high quality machines for use in the preparation and further processing of meat, fish and poultry products since 1977.  The range of equipment produced by Alco is extensive, including machines for grinding, mixing, forming, flattening, tenderising, slicing, coating, cooking and freezing meat products.  In addition to the production of individual machines, one of the strengths of Alco is its extensive experience in developing complete lines.  Its equipment in forming, breading, frying, cooking and freezing can be combined to produce complete convenience lines, while standardisation lines can be created from its grinding, mixing, conveying and buffering machines.

The addition of Alco is an excellent fit for Interfood’s existing product offering, adding further capabilities to the company’s Preparation Division and Cooking & Cooling/Pasteurisation Division. 

Fresh Meat Portioning
Interfood’s Alco line works ‘hand in glove’ with their fresh meat slicing and dicing lines from TVI, offering the total concept of turn-key lines or modular units.

Available through Interfood’s dedicated Fresh Meat Portioning Division, TVI’s new line offers crust freezing, slicing, portion control, shingling and tray dispensing, providing the ideal solution for a wide range of fresh meats – beef, lamb, pork and turkey – for both bone-in and bone-less products as well as dicing, all on the same machine. The patented gripper-less press and slice system ensures excellent yield and reduced give-away, with figures typically less than 3% give-away for bone-in products and less than 2% on bone-less. It also provides significant advances in terms of pack presentation, a major benefit as retailers look to maximise shelf appeal.

Brine Preparation, Injection and Marinating
Producing a brine of consistent quality and temperature is crucial to the quality of the end product. Interfood offers the Schroeder BRIMAX, brine preparation, IMAX range of injectors and Max range of tumblers and massagers. These give total flexibility and accountability over what is a crucial part of the factory design  

Schroeder’s superior build quality, hygienic design and technical advantages are second to none. Interfood can integrate into an existing line or supply the complete solution, with Schroeder’s touch screens ensuring optimum control showing all the relevant curing and process data required.

Industry trends
Mark Bishop continues – “We have seen an increased buoyancy in our sector of the meat machinery market, as our customers’ ability to source financing has improved. However, access to competitive financing can still be difficult, particularly for small to medium sized (SME) firms and this has lead to an increased interest in our dedicated finance packages. We have always taken the attitude that working closely with customers and understanding their particular circumstances is important.  For example, for production trials, once parameters are agreed, we can lend equipment so the customer can get a true indication of how it will actually perform on their own products and within their own processes.  With our finance packages, we work closely with a partner who has specific experience in the food industry and who is therefore able to tailor packages for capital investments in the food processing industry.”

“Whereas in recent years there has been a move towards refurbishing existing equipment, we are now seeing a very definite trend to invest in new equipment.  Many customers are adopting complete processing lines but there are still some that prefer the modular approach which can provide greater flexibility in certain applications.”

“Alongside the equipment itself, we have also seen customers quite rightly demanding high levels of service. Good quality service technicians who really understand the equipment and who have direct experience of working with it are central to this. We have recently added another two technicians to our already extensive team and, like their counterparts, they will be undergoing rigorous OEM training to ensure we can continue to meet the high standards that we set ourselves.  After-sales, service and support has always been a focus for what we do at Interfood. Support and optimisation contracts are becoming an increasingly important part of the equipment purchase decision-making process. It is about optimising the performance of the equipment through several methods including preventive maintenance, repeat-operator training, programme and machine set-up and remedial work. These packages are all designed to reduce the cost of manufacture, by the reduction of down-time, increasing of yields and the reduction of give-away, leading to an improvement of efficiency and output.”