Since 2018, the spread of African swine fever has decimated pork production across Asia. Before this unfortunate outbreak, China was the world's largest pork producer, raising over half of the world's population of swine.
While pork production has dropped in China, demand has not. Pork is still the most popular meat in China, where the average person consumes more than 30 kg of pork each year1, compared to 10 kg eaten annually by the average Spanish consumer.2
Spanish suppliers like Grup Baucells Alimentació de Alimentación have moved fast to meet the demand for pork in Asia. Since their founding 60 years ago, this family-owned business has gained a global market presence and a reputation for delivering a consistently high-quality product.
Grup Baucells Alimentació maintains a close relationship with the Spanish farms they work with, allowing them to source a top-of-the-line product. Their focus on quality extends to the processing branch of the business, as can be seen at their deboning plant in Vic, one of the most modern facilities in Spain.
With such a high standard achieved in both product and processing, Grup Baucells Alimentació strives to maintain that same quality in their weighing and packaging department. However, as they rapidly adjusted their production line to serve the Asian market, Grup Baucells Alimentació found that their legacy weighing and packing solution was creating a number of serious bottlenecks.
Both the types of product and size of packaging demanded by the Chinese market differ greatly from those in Europe. Pork wholesalers have needed to adjust to shipping large sub-products such as backbones, neckbones and front/hind feet in fixed-weight boxes of 10 kg or 25 kg.
Manually weighing and packing such large products can be tricky. The process is extremely time consuming, requiring a lot of operators to cope with the demand. It is also very difficult to reduce give-away in the manual process.
Grup Baucells Alimentació invested in an automatic weighing solution, but it wasn't able to handle big products and it produced a lot of rejects due to inaccurate weighing. Once reworked, the level of product give-away in the packages was negatively impacting the profit.
Based on their continued struggle with low efficiency and inaccuracy, the management team at Grup Baucells Alimentació decided it was time for a new weighing and packing solution. After consulting with our agent in Spain, Juel Concept, Grup Baucells Alimentació invested in the Multibatcher from Cabinplant.
With headquarters in Haarby, Denmark, Cabinplant has developed and manufactured processing equipment for the global food industry for over 50 years. In recent years, their Multibatcher solution has received a lot of attention from purveyors around the world who need to optimize weight and packing processes.
"Pork exporters like Grup Baucells Alimentació have told us they are struggling with give-away in packages of large products," said Michael Falck Schmidt, Chief Commercial Officer, EMEA & APAC at Cabinplant. "The Multibatcher has helped a number of global pork wholesalers adjust their production lines to more efficiently serve the Chinese market."
After the initial consultant, Cabinplant worked with Grup Baucells Alimentació to customize the Multibatcher to meet their specific production needs. With technical support from Cabinplant on-site, the Multibatcher was installed in one week.
With their Multibatcher up and running since January of 2020, Grup Baucells Alimentació is now able to perform accurate, high-speed combinatorial weighing of portion sizes of up to 30 kg. By automatically combining batches of product, the Multibatcher produces accurate packages with a minimal amount of give-away.
The operators at Grup Baucells Alimentació have found that manual styling is easier thanks to a new styling conveyor that runs parallel to the weighing conveyor. The ergonomic Cabinplant solution employs a slide rail that pushes the product towards the styling operator, reducing strain and stretching and thus improving productivity.
With help from the Multibatcher, Grup Baucells Alimentació has been able to double production in half the time – even when using four less operators than before. They are now set to keep exporting to China and have the added flexibility they need to adjust to further market shifts in the years to come.
"The Multibatcher provides the speed, flexibility and accuracy we need to serve the Chinese pork export market," shared Ramón Baucells, Owner at Grup Baucells Alimentació.