Case Study

Combining Portioner and Pump Reduces Ham Producer's Giveaway

When Lancaster, Pennsylvania pork producer, Kunzler & Co., realized that demand for their quality hams was exceeding production capacity, they turned to Marlen Research Corporation (Overland Park, KS) for a solution. By integrating the Marlen 20-lb C.O.V. portioner with a Marlen Opti 280 pump, efficiency increased by a factor of six.

"From one Marlen pump and portioner, we can get nine pieces a minute. The Marlen pump has enough capacity to easily feed two portioners and two packaging machines," said John Kunzler, VP operations. "Our experience has been that 70 minutes of running this equipment will fill a smokehouse up. Our old production method took three and half hours to fill the smokehouse."

At the same time, the company was able to eliminate worker safety concerns in the coffi-film ham production operation, an important part of the company's 200,000-sqft plant for ham, frankfurter and sausage production. Workers no longer have to manipulate heavy sectioned/formed ham products by hand.

Marlen's C.O.V. provided a volume-production benefit for Kunzler and also resulted in a cost savings in terms of product giveaway. Producing the 4-lb to 13-lb hams within +/- 0.5% of labeled net weight saves Kunzler thousands of dollars. Marlen's C.O.V. portioning technology enables the company to accurately portion its coffi-film hams by working with the Opti 280 pump to remove entrained air from the ham product. The final result is a ham product that has good product integrity, longer shelf life, improved slicing yield, and good color.

The C.O.V. volumetric portioner offers gentle yet accurate portioning. The volumetric cavity of the C.O.V. is adjustable and can handle from 3-lb to 20-lb whole muscle as well as sectioned/formed ham, beef or turkey. From the C.O.V. portioner, a portioned ham weighing up to 20-lb is fed directly and at a controlled rate into the packaging system.

Marlen's service reputation was also a component of Kunzler's purchase decision-making. "We have worked with Marlen for the last 10 years and their equipment has been very dependable," said Kunzler. He notes that Kunzler's first Marlen pump was basically maintenance free for 10 years.

Marlen Research Corporation manufactures a wide range of processing equipment to pump, stuff, extrude, grind, portion, form, size and deliver a variety of food products to the next processing step.

For more information contact Marlen Research Corporation, 9202 Barton St., Overland Park, KS 66214. Tel: 913-888-333; Fax: 913-888-6440.