Canadian Packaging

Spicing it up

State-of-the-art chicken seasoning machine claims top spot of the pecking order

March 27, 2019   Canadian Packaging

Trying to narrow down the ever-growing list of reliable automation companies can often leave business owners feeling like a chicken with their head cut off.

Thankfully for Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., Canada’s largest independently owned poultry processor, discovering their whole chicken-spicing machine sure is something to crow about.

Founded in 1955, the family-owned business aims to be customers’ number one choice for chicken by delivering wholesome, impeccable quality chicken with incomparable service.

In order to continue providing this kind of service, the private Brampton, Ont.-based establishment began to develop an aggressive strategy plan back in 2017 that would help them to grow annual revenue and market share over the next several years.

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In order for this new plan to succeed and to meet the anticipated new demand, Maple Lodge Farms came to the consensus that they needed to expand their capacity by automating the manual process of spicing whole birds.

While Maple Lodge Farms offers a wide assortment of chicken products, including sliced deli, deli roasts, wieners, bacon, and frozen products, it was decided that spiced birds would be an integral component of the growth plan so that product line became their area of concentration.

After shopping around for the perfect supplier, the poultry leaders selected automation powerhouse Heat and Control to help mechanize the spicing of their whole birds.

Since their humble beginnings back in 1950, Heat and Control has built a reputation of assisting a plethora of different businesses with process development, custom engineering, leading edge technology, and equipment for all types of snack products.

Impressive automation notwithstanding, choosing Heat and Control as a supplier was a no-brainer for Maple Lodge Farms, who were also impressed by the company’s enduring legacy of modernization, comprehensive solution offering, as well as their unyielding commitment to customer support.

HOME TO ROOST

Before they put all of their eggs in one basket, Maple Lodge farms decided that they would have a preliminary testing to ensure that Heat and Control could give the machine that they needed.

After refining the process with a few tweaks and minor adjustments, a fully automated Spray Dynamics system was installed and operational back in July of 2018.

Operators at the plant noticed positive results almost immediately and they have continued to outshine initial predictions.

Through the tutelage of Maple Lodge Director of Continuous Improvement, Kevin Shaw, he and the team developed a CSM (characteristic selection matrix) program, while also utilizing a variety of other tools to determine their key criteria and objectives and selected several companies to submit their proposals.

Maple Lodge Farms added the Spray Dynamics’ whole bird chicken seasoning system that included a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) polished broken inflight coating drum (with tube on diamond construction), Unispense III high volume dry ingredient dispenser, a Scarf Plate dry ingredient Feeder and PLC (programmable logic controller) controls and Information system for recipe management.

Through the innovative Spray Dynamics system, Maple Lodge Farms has been given the ability to reduce spice waste, which has been a
key advantage.

Satisfied by the dedicated support after installation and the success of equipment used in the improved process, there is a very likely chance that Maple Lodge Farm will turn to Heat and Control again as they quickly approach the next phase of their growth strategy.

“At the completion of the project in August, all objectives and critical criteria have been met and the results have overwhelmingly surpassed all expectations,” Shaw extols proudly.

“We have overachieved in the spiced bird coverage and pick-up, a significant reduction in waste and through-put has increased dramatically.”


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