Frozen food manufacturer Glendale Foods has delivered a UK first with the installation of a high speed multi-forming machine that can make up to 3,000 meatballs a minute.
The development is part of a refurbishment following a fire at the company’s factory in July. The machine, which has been supplied by meat processing equipment firm Handtmann, can deliver up to 3,000 portions of round or cylindrical meat products a minute, Glendale Foods claims.
The device enables Glendale to make products down to 4g with high portioning accuracy, producing meatballs suitable for manufacturers of sandwiches, canned soup or meals, pizzas or ready meals, it claims.
“Over the last three years, we have noticed a trend towards smaller meatballs, which when presented in or on a food product, such as pizzas and submarine rolls, look more plentiful in appearance and attractive to the consumer,” said Glendale chairman, John Mortimer.
Uptake in demand
“There’s been a real uptake in demand for meatballs, but most market offerings are squared-off cylinders, whereas ours will be truly round and add a far nicer finish to the product.”
A second piece of equipment provided by Handtmann is a fully integrated, high speed cooking line for sausage production. It enables the raw product to be processed from filling through to cooking and freezing in about 50 minutes.
This machine delivers outstanding portioning accuracy and length consistency, automatically linking the sausages at speeds of up to 1,500 portions a minute, claims Glendale.
Previously, the company's sausage filling and linking facility was shared between its cooked product and raw sausage lines, of which it sells around 60 tonnes every week.
Two distinct product lines
The new machine creates two distinct product lines, which run raw and cooked sausage at the same time, producing cooked product at a rate of 1.5 tonnes an hour. It also expands Glendale’s meal component capacity.
Glendale, which produces retail snack brands and supplies cooked components to the ready meal, sandwich making, airline catering and foodservice sectors, said it had resumed virtually full production following the fire.
Only one of three factory sections, the snack assembly department, was badly affected, with the adjacent cooked components and meat products processing line up and running within days.
The cold store, holding frozen raw material and finished products, was initially inaccessible, but relatively undamaged. Overall, only four days’ mainstream production were lost and Glendale’s Yankee snack range was back in full stock status by August.
The refurbishment of its production site after the blaze had boosted its production capacity by 60%, it claimed. Additional new installations included a multi-zone moving belt cooking and spiral freezing line.
The company had received many offers of help with storage, packaging and assembly from distributors and other manufacturers in the wake of the inferno.
“We’re now almost back to business as usual and would like to express our sincere thanks to many people,” said Mortimer. “We’re now in a pretty buoyant mood and able to renew our ambitious growth plans.”