Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 26

PLANT TOUR

high-pressure water. Traditionally workers
trimmed bellies by hand using personal
judgment and some heavy lifting. Now, the
water trimmer stays accurate to customer spec
and creates less giveaway. The technology
also sorts bellies according to weight as well
as width.
Automation in the expansion gave Perdue
Premium a different kind of advantage in
terms of labor. There still needs to be people
manning the new automation, but they don't
need as much in-depth training to complete the
assigned tasks.
"In the past, loin pulling would take a highly
skilled person to separate the loin from the
belly, but with this new equipment, people with
minimal training can align meat going through
The Frontmatec high-pressure
the machine. The machine takes over and
water jet belly cutter allows
does the pulling and cutting. It is much safer
for precise measurements
and certainly less physical than the manual
and trimming.

process we used to use. It is a very userfriendly job," Getman said. "The water jet belly
cutter is really the same on the front and back
end so within a few minutes employees can
understand how to run the machine."
"We are offering more diversified jobs as
well, focused on technology and computers,"
Malenke said. "If you thought about an
all-around maintenance guy that could do
multiple tasks, this is different. It's not a big
tool pouch on the side to do the job. It's about
maintaining automation."
"To see the mechanics work is actually
pretty impressive," Getman added. "They know
what they're doing. There's no doubt they're
fully trained. That's what I notice."
Perdue Premium's expansion involved more
than just making production and fabrication
more efficient and generating higher yields, it
considered the company's and its employees'
futures and well-being.
A new cafeteria, new locker room and
open restroom design with a no-touch, nowaste process facilitates better hygiene and
rounds out the additional square footage of
the expansion. A basement underneath the
cafeteria provides dry storage for supplies,
as well as water support for cleaning and
machinery such as the belly cutter. A vast
tract of company-owned land adjacent to the
addition is also there for future expansion.

SAFETY AND WELL-BEING
While production efficiencies, yields,
automation and modernity show brightly from
PPMC's new building expansion, the company
rooted the design and execution in worker
safety from the beginning.
"I think that was as important as anything
we needed," Getman said. "The room design
was definitely safety driven. If you look around
the whole perimeter of the room, there is no
forklift traffic. Instead, you have controlled
areas of forklift traffic by design. I'd say safety
was probably number one and productivity
was number two."
Also, the automation and new machines
allow for improved ergonomics.
Malenke added worker safety has seen
an evolution similar to many aspects of the
industry and the industry as a whole.
"What we allowed people to do 20 years
ago is not acceptable today," Malenke said.

26

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