Over the last three years, the Marel Poultry Team has been working hard, together with representatives from Costco Wholesale and their newly formed poultry processing company, Lincoln Premium Poultry, on a state-of-the-art greenfield plant in Fremont, Neb. Now, the company announced that Costco has made the largest single order to date for both the North America region and Marel as a whole.
Marel Poultry will supply three complete slaughter lines for the new plant, from live receiving up to chilling. Each line will utilize Marel Poultry’s newest live receiving system, ATLAS. From there, the plant will run complete Marel kill and evisceration systems with the newest technology up to chilling. For chilling, the company will complete three Shock/Maturation air-chill systems, complete with automatic transfer into the system from evisceration and out of the system to the distribution line.
Post-chilling, Marel will supply two distribution lines, complete with weighing and vision grading, to plan all downstream processing activities. After whole bird removal, birds will be cut up and deboned through four Marel cutup lines. Deboning will be performed using five of Marel’s newest AMF-i cap cap deboners and two in-line thigh deboning systems within cutup. All deboned parts will pass through one of five Marel SensorX machines for bone detection.
Utilizing the highest level of automation, parts will be automatically presented to thermo-formed packs through a combination of Marel robots and Multihead weighers. Each pack will undergo metal detection and labeling, and cartons will be boxed via complete Marel weigh price labeling lines. Similarly, deli and rotisserie birds will be labeled and carton boxed through Marel equipment.
Processing will be entirely controlled through Marel Innova software, which will be integrated throughout the plant. Innova will monitor all incoming weights, defects, processing yields, quality control and equipment monitoring and will control cutup and packaging to fill order requirements on a real-time basis. Innova will also be integrated with third-party grower software, ERP and robotic palletizing systems being used in the plant.
2 million chickens
Costco’s 414-acre site in Fremont will be home to a chicken hatchery, feed mill and processing plant. The entire supply chain will be concentrated in a 100-mile radius. The goal is to produce 2 million chickens a week, or 25,200 birds per hour.
The facility will process 6.0 lb. average live-weight birds, with a focus on the highest-quality A grade for the Costco rotisserie program while also supplying bagged deli whole birds and thermo-formed, saddle-packed parts for the wholesale grocery chain. The processing plant will handle about a third of the raw and rotisserie chicken sold at Costco stores nationwide. Marel Poultry will deliver the system by the end of 2018, with a start-up around April 2019.