News | May 21, 2024

Marel's Hi-Tech Systems Remain Durable

How to extend the lifecycle of modern equipment to 10+ years?

Are you seeking durable automated poultry processing solutions that can yield higher margins over time? Marel has a track record for constructing modular systems capable of being upgraded long after their typical depreciation period. As today’s poultry processing machines incorporate increasingly sophisticated (and potentially delicate) technology, keeping them operational for years and years becomes challenging. Marel adopts a sustainable approach, ensuring solid durations for their equipment of more than a decade, even with advanced high-tech components inside.

In the poultry process, equipment continues to evolve, now transitioning into a digital era characterized by increased control automation and insights into ever more data. This transformation enables processes to become less dependent on skilled labor or traditional mechanical principles.

However, it's important to note that older equipment or lower capacities are still capable of doing the job effectively. This equipment often boasts a lengthy lifetime, with functional durations reaching up to more than twenty years, which is significant considering the shorter financial depreciation period. For instance, Marel lines operating in Malaysia have been installed for well over a decade.

Upgrading a 20+ years old plucker
Surpassing the typical depreciation period means an advantageous opportunity for processors to achieve higher margins. Dennis Loo, Plant Manager of the Malaysian poultry processor CCK says, “We are particularly impressed with the durability and sustainability of our Marel machines. For example, we were able to upgrade an existing 20+ years old plucker with new parts. Although Marel has changed the plucker design a lot over the course of years, the new parts still fit our old machine to be completely up-to-date again. I like the idea that an upgrade in technology doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to buy a totally new machine. So this is a very sustainable approach.”

More hi-tech, shorter life?
The extended lifespan remains applicable for a considerable amount of equipment. Today, however, many pieces of equipment can’t operate anymore without HMI screen, laser scanners, PLC controllers and other hi-tech devices. The lifecycle of these hi-tech components is shorter than what the poultry processing industry is used to and what was the standard 15 or 20 years ago. With the increasing number of lasers, sensors, screens and cameras being integrated into machines such as evisceration, deboning, portioning and contaminant detection, the total system becomes more vulnerable to the faster deterioration pace of hi-tech devices. While the development of this technology may not progress as rapidly as seen with consumer products like mobile phones, its implementation still inevitably shortens the lifecycle compared to purely mechanical hardware.

Extending the lifecycle
Marel is keen on upholding the durability of its systems. Manuel van ‘t Sant, regional director sales, poultry Asia and Oceania, says, “We really care about the lifecycle of the equipment. We always strive to guarantee the longest possible duration for our customers. Through upgrades and partial replacements of components such as PLCs, we can actually keep extending that lifetime.

When we design a new generation breast deboning system, we keep the mechanical components very similar to previous generations, but enhanced with today’s state-of-the-art hi-tech. When it's time to upgrade the machine about ten years from now, the latest PLCs and software available at that time can be installed, while the durable mechanical components can remain unchanged. As a result, the lifecycle is still the same as it used to be.”

For some detachable hi-tech parts, such as cameras and screens, it will be easy to replace them with improved versions. The same principle applies to the modules used in the construction of many Marel machines. Marel has been utilizing this building-block construction method for quite some time.

A sustainable approach
“It is expected that the lifecycles of traditional mechanical parts and hi-tech parts will further drift apart. So it is crucial to have the capability to upgrade the digital and hi-tech components of the machine with the latest software, controls, connections, screens, cameras and more, to continuously extend the overall lifecycle of the machine. The modular system design that Marel has promoted for a long time is, therefore, taking sustainability into consideration.”

Manuel van ‘t Sant concludes, “When you think of Marel equipment, you should think of a standardized mechanical basic block in a modular design, surrounded by hi-tech components that can be updated and exchanged instead of replacing the complete machine.”

Source: Marel