Erie Meat Products Ltd. of Mississaugua, ON, is a regional supplier of fresh poultry and wholesale mechanically deboned chicken. Depending on market conditions, nearly 25 percent of its mechanically deboned (MDM) product is frozen for export out of the country.

"Although we were achieving minimum re-quirements for product quality according the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, freezing product to the required temperature was very costly and took up a lot of storage space," reports John Myshrall, quality assurance and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) manager. "We wanted to chill the meat down at a faster rate to reduce our energy costs. We also needed to find a better process for handling meat after the deboning system when providing local customers with fresh product." To achieve both results, Erie recently reconfigured and modified its MDM line.

After deboning, a Waukesha Cherry-Burrell Model 224 universal rectangular flange pump moves product into two vertical Waukesha Cherry-Burrell Votator II Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers (SSHE). The Model 224 runs at a slow RPM allowing the MDM to flow freely. Lower RPMs also reduce pump wear.

The most important benefit of the high capacity pump is keeping ahead of the deboner, according to Myshrall. "The pump and scraped surface heat exchanger run faster than the deboner so our product does not get a chance to warm up," Myshrall points out.

Erie immediately realized savings in labor costs and packaging by in-stalling the SSHE. Fresh product is packaged in 1,400-lb. containers rather than individual 60-lb. boxes. This translates into fewer containers and improved filling efficiency. "As far as labor costs, we've seen savings of more than fifty percent."

Because the Votator II cools the deboned meat to less than 37¿ F, Erie saved energy costs. "We were able to cut our energy costs in half for our frozen products," Myshrall reports. "Plus, we were able to move product through our freezer faster and save on space."

One of the deciding features was ease of maintenance. The vertical Votator II unit features an hydraulic lift for easy shaft exposure. Erie's HACCP program requires daily cleanliness inspection.

"We can basically open the entire machine," notes Myshrall. "This can be done in about twenty minutes, a bit longer if we have to change a blade."

All in all, Votator II is helping plant efficiency. "We don't know exactly what our pay back time on the system will be, but we are already seeing significant savings," notes Myshrall.

Waukesha Cherry-Burrell, 611 Sugar Creek Rd., Delavan, WI 53115. Tel.: (414) 728-1900; Fax: (414) 728-4320.