Success Story: Granby

Success Story Granby

Automation and integrative product handling in Dublin's meat products factory Granby

“We were faced with a major challenge. We had long been considering how we could further optimise our production which was already state-of-the-art – towards greater automation and integrative product handling in order to be truly prepared for the challenges of the future,” explained Eoin Kavanagh from Granby Ltd/Ireland. Granby Ltd is a meat products factory in the very heart of Dublin’s city centre, licensed in accordance with the most stringent EU standards and boasting top level BRC certification (tested products in tested packaging). A family company founded by John Kavanagh 87 years ago. Today it is managed in third generation by his grandsons Eoin and Maurice Kavanagh, and the fourth generation is just starting at the company.

I’m absolutely convinced that Handtmann has the best solutions. I really mean it. Every day, when I walk through the production halls, I’m delighted about how efficiently everything works.

Eoin Kavanagh (Managing Director)

Eoin Kavanagh continues to produce traditional Irish products, such as pork sausages and black & white pudding. But at the same time he is a decidedly forward-thinking entrepreneur. He was concerned about what the production of the future would look like. “I think automation is the way forwards because labour is becoming extremely expensive and manual handling is an element that also risks adding bacteria to the product. The skill and the care and attention will always go towards the raw materials we put into the product and the way we process the meat, but ultimately I think it will be automation all the way. And this is the way everything is going. Even the Handtmann systems are all automated systems. At IFFA there was a lot of handling robots and I think this is the way our industry is heading. But ultimately what we are doing here is we’re making an investment for the next generation that is coming along.”

State-of-the-art technology for the 4th Granby generation

And this is where the long-serving partner of Granby Ltd, Handtmann, comes into play. As a supplier of state-of-the-art technology for food production. The situation was clear for Eoin Kavanagh: “I’m trying to give the fourth Granby generation the best possible machinery to bring the business forwards.”

The partnership between Granby and Handtmann started as long ago as the 1960s with the market launch of the FA 70 filler. A production line with 12 FA 70s and with 2 operators each per filler produced sausages in natural casing. These FA 70s were then replaced by 5 Handtmann VF 12 vacuum fillers between 1979 and 1984. When production was extended to collagen casing, 2 Handtmann PAL 52 sausage filling lines were installed. In 2004, the first VF 622 with the PLS 115 AL system was purchased and a second line was added in 2008, then a third in 2013 and a fourth in 2014. When the new PVLS 143 linking and cutting line was introduced in the middle of 2014, 2 VF 622 lines with the PVLS 143 were bought in the same year. The company was so impressed and happy with the production efficiency, speed and reliability that it purchased another VF 628 with PVLS 143 in 2015 and invested in the latest Handtmann filling technology, a VF 838 with PVLS 143, at the end of 2016.

Manual depositing as initial situation

All downstream processing steps in sausage production were at first completely manual: the sausages were deposited into trays and collated for packaging by hand. When the production was being modernised with the PVLS 143, Martin Keane from Handtmann Ltd had mentioned that Handtmann was developing a collating system. In his search for a collating solution, Eoin Kavanagh had already taken a look at a series of different systems from various manufacturers but had not found anything that he was happy with. On seeing the Handtmann collating system he was extremely impressed.

“What I liked the most about it was the integration with the actual vacuum filling machine where everything is controlled. The vacuum filler is part of a system and it’s modular. And this, for me, meant that I could plug and play what I needed. And I am not “caught” in a single system but have countless options.

And whatever Handtmann comes up with in the future I’m sure it can be integrated into this system,” explained Eoin. Now the Handtmann collating system is used very successfully at Granby for the fully-automatic depositing of sausage into trays. “This is of enormous benefit for us and we have also identified additional potential, as automation is a key issue throughout the entire industry. Everyone is looking for automation solutions – whether they be robot or picking systems – and I think that the market will increasingly go in this direction.”

Meeting customer wishes with more flexibility

Customer wishes can now be met with more flexibility. Whereas previously eight sausages were always separated off and folded to be deposited into a tray, they can now be cut completely individually. Granby views the clear advantages of the Handtmann GS 300 and GS 301 collating systems to be the reduction in the amount of work needed for depositing into trays and the modular structure of the entire system. The modular structure is a particularly important feature as Granby’s business is multi-faceted: the production of large packages for catering as well as 6 kg bags of sausages for professional kitchens, plus the trays for retailers. Productivity is naturally another decisive factor along with modularity, reliability and hygiene. With the old system, it was only possible to produce a maximum of 420 portions per minute. With the new Handtmann system, significantly higher output is achieved due to double groups.

In reality we will run the GS 301 at about 600 to 650 portions per minute, which immediately gives us a 50 % increase over what we are currently getting.

And while we have invested in the PVLS 143 to give us very accurate linking and cutting at this line, we can also now utilize the speed in the new GS 301.” On top of that, Granby only recently interlinked its machinery with Handtmann HCU software, bringing maximum transparency to production. HCU provides a detailed overview of the entire filling department and the machine parameters every minute. Efficiency, weight checking, performance parameters and production and downtimes are available at all times on defined graphs and tables.


One-stop shopping from a partner

A long-term partnership with synergy effects: Granby has been a Handtmann customer for more than 50 years and, since then, has not bought a single filling machine from a different manufacturer. Machines from Handtmann had therefore always been first choice. Eoin Kavanagh is particularly happy that everything comes from a single source: “In this way, I don’t have to coordinate various suppliers so that the machines interact with each other. It is terribly important for me that I have one person to whom I can say ‘this is working for me and this is not working’ and you’ll find a solution for it. This is very important because you can have companies that will play off one another and say “Oh, no it’s not our problem...”. With the new collating system range from Handtmann and controlling the entire line through only one control panel, this is just perfect.”

Fit for the future

Eoin Kavanagh believes that the company is well prepared for future tasks: “We know we wouldn’t be where we are today without Handtmann. I cannot emphasize how impressed we are with the complete Handtmann system. The VF 600 series vacuum fillers which we’ve had here for the last 16 years, and the PVLS 143s we’ve had now for four years, have been absolutely outstanding. The collating system is just an extension of that. Again, it has been excellent.

Over the last two years we’ve completely re-modernized our sausage room with the latest equipment, whether it be filling, packaging, cutters or whatever. So it’s up to the fourth generation to pick up the business and move forwards with it.”

Our great deal of trust in terms of machine quality, reliable service and technological progress was reaffirmed once more – this is what makes Handtmann the market leader.