The single-largest expense in the former Castricum Bros processing plant make-over has been the construction of a $22-million cold store facility.
Mr Cabral said that having had lots of experience in abattoirs, and abattoir restorations at other sites, Dandenong, in Melbourne’s outer south-east, is the most modern plant they have renovated.
The kill-floor is brand-new but it is a well-performed process used in the past.
The boning room is also an adaptation of the past with some new technology included. It also has been increased in size while the chillers have been totally remodeled to accept beef rather than lamb carcases.
Mr Calbral said that from their experiences from operating other processing plants, cold store has been an area they have discovered where most of the inefficiencies have occurred compared to productivity gains made in other areas around the plant.
Due to the complexity of various customer and country requirements, they have seen the benefit of installing a product tracking system by utilising barcode and scanning technology to track processed product as it moves from the boning room and to the cold store area.
“We have worked extremely hard in the past at increasing yields in the boning room, on the kill floor and with labor-saving innovations around the plant: even in our cattle selection”.
“But if the product becomes lost or cartons out-of-date in the cold store these gains can be surrendered by the discounting product at the point of sale”.
Mr Cabral said that the cold store incorporates a state-of-the-art M-Fast racking system from Milmeq.
This is a fully automated, product tracking system that sorts, stacks and retrieves cartons of processed product into a rack network before it is stored and batched readied for shipping.
Another feature of the cold store is its structure has been designed with extra-high ceilings to increase its capacity on the small foot-print of land that was available.
To make the most of this feature narrow-width, magnetic wire-guided fork-lifts stack pellets into a multi-level rack network that can store up to 3500 frozen- and 1200 chilled- pallets.
The cold store facility also incorporates industry-modern plate-freezer equipment while the labor-intensive task of carton fabrication has also been replaced by computerised machinery.