SuKarne is Mexico’s largest producer and exporter of beef and its largest marketer of beef, pork, and chicken. The company produces beef cuts, as well as further-processed products such as hamburgers and lunch meat, for local and export markets. From its plant in Escobedo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, SuKarne exports products to the United States, Japan, Russia, Korea, China, and Hong Kong.
The Escobedo plant had been using a modular plastic belt on its beef cut and deboning lines. Employees on these lines retrieved beef quarters from the belt in order to cut them into smaller pieces on work tables. The meat was then placed back onto the main belt for transport down the line, while the bones were transported via an incline-to-overhead conveyor. The conveyors on the three cut/deboning lines varied in length—between eight and eighteen meters—and their loads weighed up to 500 kg, spread along the length of the line.
The Escobedo plant sought to retrofit its cut/deboning conveyors with a hygienic belting solution that would help it answer increasing demands from export countries. It required a belt that could be cleaned quickly and easily, but that would also be strong enough to handle the line’s heavy product loads.
SuKarne partnered with Intralox to retrofit its conveyors. Intralox belting is used in many of the company’s plants, and they have come to trust the brand, quality, and service that Intralox provides.
In June 2011, the Escobedo plant retrofitted the three cut/deboning lines with Intralox ThermoDrive belting. ThermoDrive is very easy to clean, runs on zero tension, and can handle high weight loads—all critical attributes for beef applications. The retrofit included wearstrip renewal and containment-block installations. The longest belt measured .6 m (1.97 ft.) wide by 18 m (59.06 ft.) long.
Because ThermoDrive technology operates with zero tension, it can accommodate the lengths and weight-handling needs of the lines. Additionally, the lack of tension allows ThermoDrive belting to be easily lifted in place for cleaning.
The Escobedo plant now has a belt that can be cleaned more quickly and easily but that still maintains the belt pull required for the application. Both cleaning time and bacterial counts on the lines have been reduced by 50 percent. SuKarne is currently expanding their capacity and has specified ThermoDrive for many of its upcoming installations.