A custom food processor, AlaTrade Foods provides large poultry processors with a service that requires intensive amounts of labor. AlaTrade Foods takes in the front-halves of chickens and debones and disassembles products based on customer specifications—whether it is for the breast meat, wings, tenders or dark meat. AlaTrade debones approximately 1 million fronts (approximately 2 million pounds) a week.
To meet customers’ requests while maintaining sanitation standards, AlaTrade leverages process efficiencies, cutting-edge technologies and superior customer service, which results in better quality, better yield and better response times for customers.
To minimize downtime and reduce maintenance costs, AlaTrade employs a Van der Graaf drum motor to drive its conveyors. The company started working with Van der Graaf over a decade ago when it was looking to solve internal failures on conventional conveyors.
“Since then, we have seen the potential for us to limit our amount of downtime and create a safer work environment,” says Kevin W. Parnell, plant manager for Alatrade Foods LLC. “Being a player in the poultry industry, we believe food safety is—has to be—at the top of our priority list. Van der Graaf plays a huge role in us doing that.”
Industry requirements demand all chicken processors exceed food hygiene standards; thus, the highest level of sanitation must be maintained. The overall construction and engineering behind the Van der Graaf drum motor is intrinsically hygienic to address sanitation requirements.
“The VDG motor withstands 3,000 psi of water pressure, preventing the harboring of bacteria and other contaminants,” explains Ray Hayes, quality control supervisor for AlaTrade Foods LLC, “so we can wash things quickly, apply our chemicals to kill the microbes and get back up and running again. In any manufacturing environment, downtime is money.”
The engineered design of the drum motor puts all the working components to power the conveyor inside the roller of the head pulley. “Van der Graaf is the best in the industry as far as the concise fit of the motor and the reduced room it takes up,” says Hayes.
The motor’s mechanical components are in a constant food- grade oil bath, which allows it to have a maintenance interval of 50,000 hours between oil changes. With nothing external and, therefore, nothing subjected to the working environment, a drum motor outlasts a conventional drive, while offering reduced downtime and lower maintenance costs.
“From a management standpoint, having something that is not going to fail allows you to focus on other things that improve your process instead of worrying about whether a motor is going to go out,” says Parnell.