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"Software is not a big monster" - Innova

Entrepreneurs in emerging markets who start processing poultry at capacities from 500 to 4,000 bph should not be afraid of including software in their plant design, says Innova

PoultryInnova want to incorporate software into poultry processing (Image Source: Marel)

Software is not the ‘big monster’ that swallows all processes and takes over the control of the entire plant. On the contrary, implementing a first small Innova Food Processing Software module is relatively easy and causes no hassle. The most common, simple starting point for such processors is live bird weighing. After that, the software component in the factory can be expanded little by little.

The thought of having to deal with software in a start-up processing plant often scares people. It feels like a mountain to be overcome, although this anxiety lacks factual foundation. Processing software is nothing more than a natural part of the process, only there to support and ease the life of the processor. There’s nothing secret or mysterious about it. Innova doesn’t influence the process; all it does is register the production, providing accurate and reliable facts and figures and replacing pen and paper.

Step one – Live bird weighing

The simple start point for software integration in a start-up processing plant is to weigh live birds at reception, supported by the Innova Packing module. You can put the flock in crates on the floor scale and afterwards weigh the empty crates, that way it becomes clear what the total weight of the incoming flock is. The registered weight may be interesting to compare with the data of the supplying farmers, which may play a role in the payment of the suppliers.

Step two – In-out weighing

This is a relatively simple expansion of the first step. In addition to weighing the live birds coming in, you’re weighing the finished products – whole birds – going out, on packing scales. By keeping the flock together during the process, you know which flock has been weighed before and which one you’ll have to weigh at the end. It’s a simplified flock control. Innova gives you a ‘total weight-in’ and a ‘total weight-out’ for the flock.

Now, with everything that happened in between, you’re able to compare the flock weights from the start to those at the very end of the process. Instead of taking down all weights on paper and comparing them manually, the Innova Packing module automatically connects the two weighing moments. By comparing what you’ve got in and what you’ve had out, Innova calculates your yield. It’s just about whole birds so it’s quite a simple process.

Step three – Adding a grader

When a grader comes into the processing line after whole bird dressing, it can be connected to Innova Packing and Labelling. This grading process now gives you the outgoing weight instead of the packing scales, and then you’ve got an accurate weight of what you’ve sent out.

The Innova Packing and Labelling module also allows you to manage other operations on the packing scales, such as labelling. In this way, the appropriate labels are on your products from traceability purposes.

Step four – Innova PDS for bird counting

After having weighted the flock at reception, you may want to count individual birds in the line. If so, Innova PDS has the right counters to do such accurate counting. Bird counting is a sort of common metric that everyone likes to see on the computer screen. It shows how many birds per hour you’re doing (the throughput). This is a number everybody understands, obviously a different metric than a live bird flock weight.

Step five – Inventory and dispatch

If you want to move on to the next step, then you need Innova Inventory and Final Goods Manager, which cover you for inventory and dispatch. If you put your finished products into Inventory, you can dispatch them to the customers. Instead of manual paperwork, Innova takes over the customer dispatch. You enter the customer orders in the programme and then, guided by Innova, pick the products to the customer order, palletise them, load them on the truck and finally dispatch them.

If any further software upgrades are required beyond these steps, Marel can support you with well-balanced expansions. The Innova portfolio holds an elaborate programme of modules to intensify control and management functions. Innova PDS, for example, offers many more possibilities than just bird counting.


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