Meyn's World-class Factory
Last year Meyn finished the expansion project of its manufacturing plant in Lebork – close to Gdansk on the Baltic coast – and its size reminds MPJ of Boeing’s plants in Seattle. The plant now has 10,375 square meters of manufacturing halls and around 1500 sqm of new office space.
The Lebork plant is one of four which Meyn has, with additional ones located in Italy, the Netherlands, and the USA. Plant manufacturing is not specific for the country it is in, but instead product/parts orientated. Lebork’s main product is currently Meyn’s drawer system and controlled atmosphere stunning system. The plant is on track to have this portfolio expanded soon.
Dariusz Karas, managing director of the Polish Meyn facility, tells MPJ that the modernization of the plant doubled floor space and supports the most efficient production flow and significant waste reduction. “The new layout offers a more open and transparent work environment, which in turn stimulates teamwork and cooperation,” he says.
MPJ has been in ultra-modern German plants and if it wasn’t for the fact that Polish was being spoken, Meyn Lebork would seem completely German. Despite manufacturing going on, the plant was spotless and there seemed to be real thought and logic as to where material would be stored and its flow to manufacturing positions.
The plant has a staff of 185, split into two shifts. Sometimes a third shift is added for additional CNC or welding. [CNC machining is a process used in the manufacturing sector that involves the use of computers to control machine tools. Tools that can be controlled in this manner include lathes, mills, routers and grinders. The CNC in CNC machining stands for Computer Numerical Control.] As everywhere else in Poland, staffing is an issue due to the massive Polish migration of skilled workers.
“It’s getting harder in Poland to find specialist workers, such as those who can weld stainless steel,” says Karas. “We have a close relationship with a local technical school. Students come in for experience and we observe and offer jobs to the best. We’re taking a very long term view to staffing, and we’re looking for people who want to work here for years.”
Staff are arranged in teams and MPJ observed one team coming on. Before work begins, a small meeting is held where the team leader goes over the targets for the day and as a team, they try to anticipate any problems they might have.
What impressed MPJ was that it gave the workers a real sense of where they fitted into the big picture. A worker just wasn’t turning a bolt, but her/his actions were producing a piece of equipment, which would then be shipped to ‘X’.
With increasing demand, driven by domestic consumption and export, Polish producers tell MPJ that they are seeking more sophisticated equipment that can process broilers quicker, achieving higher levels of quality and performance.
Meyn is offering them a highly flexible, competitive solutions from live bird handling to deboning at the maximum capacity available in the market. These solutions will boost the processor’s market position and ensure their business continuity, leading to a significant labor reduction.
One system of Meyn’s which has caught the eye of Polish producers is its High-Speed line. This allows a plant to move at 15,000 broilers per hour (bph). Meyn tells MPJ: “In response to the growing demand for even higher line speeds, Meyn has upgraded its machines with innovative solutions to process chickens quicker, achieving high levels of quality and maximize yield. From live bird handling to chilling, all Meyn equipment is now tuned to the new benchmark of 15,000 bph.”
While MPJ has seen before high speed components in red meat and poultry plants, the problem has always been that a line can only move as fast as its slowest component. Meyn claims that with its new high-speed line, production can move at this speed.
Just increasing line speeds is not enough, that’s why new versions of existing evisceration equipment are implemented with 20 units in a 240o frame (instead of the normal 180 degrees), allowing for longer processing time in each machine. The new 240o machine design matches high speeds with superior product quality and maximum food safety.
“Customers are looking to increase their production speed while also reducing waste and quality defects. The new 240o frame enables us to meet customer expectations and help them to achieve further efficiencies,” said Pete van Poorten, Product Manager Meyn. “Many of our installed systems have already been running above 13,500 bph, and this is the logical next step.”
Furthermore, higher line-speeds mean more processing activities per hour. In theory, this would result in shorter interval times between the sharpening or even replacement of knives. Meyn has further improved the durability and quality of all cutting blades to reduce maintenance and maximize uptime. Moreover, in some modules the blades have changed from smooth to serrated cutting edges, resulting in an up to four times longer durability.
Other innovations by Meyn to run a processing line at 15,000 bph are the new Meyn Carousel re-hanger M2.0 and the new Meyn Line weigher M2.0. For further processing after chilling the Meyn Physic and Flex M3.0 cut up lines are updated to match the 15,000 high-speed lines with exactly two cut up lines.