The greenfield poultry plant will be located in Fredicksburg, Pennsylvania and will feature two processing lines installed by Marel, each with a capacity of 140 bpm.
Bell & Evans also partnered with Marel to purchase its entire ATLAS automated transport system. This system eliminates the use of forklifts and minimizes stress during unloading by reducing noise, light, sound and movement to offer a smooth transition from the trailer into its Slow Induction Anesthesia (SIA).
The traceability process in the new Fredericksburg facility is also in partnership with Marel. Right from the moment of entering the processing plant until packaging, each chicken can be traced back in the process down to which flock and which farm it came from. Marel’s food processing software Innova not only ensures this traceability program but will also connect all solutions throughout the plant, collect and analyze data and offer Bell & Evans plant staff the information they need to run highly efficient operations.
Upon announcing the project, the two businesses remarked on how they share the same vision for sustainability, animal well-being and food safety.
“It is through partnerships with companies like Bell & Evans that we realize our vision of transforming the way food is processed,” said Marel Poultry Executive Vice President Roger Claessens. “Bell & Evans is known to add maximum value to the entire chain, by maintaining highest production quality from egg to end product. The company recognizes that only a strong partnership, covering the entire processing line can raise the quality of poultry processing to the same high level. We’re happy that Marel can contribute to this final link in their value chain.”
Another key point of difference for Bell & Evans is the installation of 100% Air Chilling. Other US poultry processors produce chlorinated water chilled chicken or use a mix of water and air chilling. Since 2005, the company has utilized 100% Air Chill for all of its chicken production.
According to the company, it is its way to transform US food processing and provide another level of quality to the consumer.
After 100% Air Chill, products are distributed and cut-up in a Marel ACM-NT line, including a Q-Wing solution for wing part selection. Unique to the US are the automated in-line thigh and drumstick deboning systems, already an upcoming trend in Europe.
“In fact, we’re a European-minded company that’s located in the United States,” said Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler.