The installation of robotic systems was completed in December, and the final testing is being carried out currently. The pallet-loading-robot should start working in full capacity in February, while the weighing and packing systems should follow at the beginning of March.
"Adopting modern technologies across the food industry is unavoidable if companies want to expand and remain effective and sustainable in the competitive European market. We are one of the first companies in Baltic states who has installed these types of robots. The pandemic has created challenging conditions for all of us in the poultry market; however, we have managed to complete our modernization project. It will allow us to increase production efficiency and product safety as well as solve the problem of workforce shortages", says Andrius Pranckevičius, the Chairman of the Board of Putnu Fabrika Kekava.
Robotized weighing and packing systems will ensure the equal weight of every product package, which is very important to supermarkets that want to sell items at the same price. Moreover, modern systems will increase product safety as the whole process will happen without human contact. Weighing and packing robots will pack up to 15 tons of poultry products per day – roughly the same as six workers at the production line.
Another 2 similar robotic weighing and packaging lines are planned to be installed in the company after the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the other robot will help with getting the product ready to be transported out. The task of loading and packing big blocks of chicken onto wooden pallets is physically demanding and currently requires eight workers. However, thanks to new technology, one robotic arm will complete the job easier, packing up to 30 tons of product in a single day.
According to A. Pranckevičius, new robots will help to solve the problem of workforce shortages. "Kekava, where our factory is located, has only around 5,000 people living there while we employ 820 workers. Therefore, the lack of a qualified workforce is one of our main problems and challenges for many years. We provide transport for our employees who come from both Kekava and other towns and cities. Robots will not replace our workers but, on the contrary, will reduce the amount of hard physical work and allow our workers to do more important tasks which cannot be automated", stated A. Pranckevičius.
About AB Linas Agro Group poultry business
AB Linas Agro Group owns four poultry farms in Latvia: AS Putnu Fabrika Kekava, SIA Lielzeltini, SIA Broileks and SIA Cerova. The activities cover the full poultry cycle: hatching of chickens, rearing of broilers, production of poultry meat and its products, production of own feed, retail sale of chicken and its products. The products are sold under the brands "Kekava", "Bauska", "Top choice poultry" and the label "Grown without antibiotics". The consolidated income of the of the poultry enterprises of the Group in the financial year 2019/2020 amounted to EUR 74 million, operating profit was EUR 2.9 million. Last year, the companies produced 46 thousand tons of live weight poultry meat.
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