Ubojnia Drobiu Leszek i Jerzy Smolarek Sp. J. (Smolarek) is a prominent poultry processing company with a rich history spanning three generations of poultry farmers. Founded in 1991, Smolarek evolved from a backyard venture in the 1970s to a state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of Wielichowo, Poland. Specializing in processing 6000 birds per hour, the company primarily caters to the Polish wholesale market and smaller private enterprises, focusing on whole birds and cut-up pieces for bulk distribution.
Experiencing significant growth since its humble beginnings in the 1970s, Smolarek has navigated challenges in maintaining production efficiency and quality within the dynamic poultry industry. The company's commitment to embracing technological advancements and automation stands out as a proactive strategy, reflecting its forward-thinking approach to staying prepared for the future amidst the evolving landscape of the poultry industry.
Smolarek identifies two key challenges in adopting a technology-driven approach: high investment costs and seamless integration of new technologies into existing operations. The expense of acquiring modern machines and technologies requires meticulous financial planning, considering the potential advantages they can bring to the production process. Additionally, integrating new technologies demands careful project preparation, potentially requiring adjustments to the processing facility's infrastructure and installed equipment. Another challenge is training staff to operate and maintain these advanced machines, which can be time-consuming and costly.
In 2022, Smolarek took a significant step towards fully automating its processing operations by investing in a BAADER Breast Cap Deboner 660A. Prior to this, the breast filleting process was semi-automatic. The decision to embrace this technology aimed to enhance production efficiency, standardize the filleting process, and maintain high-quality standards.
“The installation of the BAADER machine brought substantial benefits to Smolarek's processing plant. The filleting process, now fully automated, is faster and requires fewer operators”, explains Leszek Smolarek, co-owner of Smolarek. “Standardization of the process is crucial for mass production, ensuring uniformity in fillet size and shape, which contributes to the visual appeal of the final product”.
Depending on market requirements, the Breast Cap Deboner 660A can easily be configured to work with different breast cap sizes and its versatility allows for producing a variety of products.
The machine significantly increased the filleting capacity at Smolarek’s plant from 3000 to 4200 fillets per hour, and its straightforward operation and minimal training requirements streamlined the transition to automated processing. Smolarek also benefitted from the proximity of the Polish BAADER office, providing prompt support whenever needed.
By embracing automation through the installation of advanced technologies, Smolarek successfully overcame its challenges and positioned itself for sustained growth in the competitive poultry processing industry. The strategic move increased production efficiency and upheld the company's commitment to delivering high-quality poultry products to its diverse customer base. Smolarek's journey is an inspiring case study for businesses seeking to balance the costs and benefits of adopting cutting-edge technologies to pursue operational excellence.
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Smolarek: Adopting Automation to Increase Filleting Efficiency and Quality