Danpo A/S in Denmark, leader in fully cooked chicken products, decided to build a fourth, fully automatic line, to manufacture a range of chicken nuggets under its ‘Your Chicken’ brand. The line includes the GEA MaxiFormer at its heart, providing high-quality nuggets in a fully automatic, high production process, using the minimum of labor.

Customer profile

Chicken nugget

Danpo is part of Scandi Standard, the largest chicken processing enterprise in Scandinavia. The group sells and markets refrigerated, frozen and processed chicken. With about 870 employees, Danpo opened its processing factory in Farre, South Jutland in 2000 and produces a wide range of fully-cooked chicken products over four production lines. 

"GEA helped us to develop the line machine by machine. I like working with GEA.  I can speak to people and they understand what I am talking about." Per Ulrik Jørgensen, Product Technical Manager 

The challenge

Chicken nugget line cookstar

Per Ulrik Jørgensen, Product Technical Manager at the Farre factory has been working with Danpo for over 30 years.  He is responsible for product and process development.  He explained that, working in a country with high labor costs, it was essential to maximise the automation level in the new plant. “High capacity, with less labor, is the way to develop new products in a country such as Denmark,” he said.

But the quest to minimise labor costs and increase production could not come at the expense of product quality.  As a trained chef, Per’s focus on the quality of the food is second-nature to him and he knows that providing the quality his customers know and expect is often achieved by taking practical measures around the plant.  “When improving a high-capacity line we need to look closely at the environment,” he said. “Whenever we choose new equipment we make sure it will provide a line that is tidy, easy to overview, clean and dry. It’s very important that customers feel safe with what we do.”

"With GEA delivering all the equipment on the line we knew for sure that each element would fit together and be compatible." Per Ulrik Jørgensen, Product Technical Manager 

The right performance

Perfect shaped nuggets

The new line takes the product from meat delivery through grinding, mixing, forming, coating, cooking, frying and freezing in one seamless, fully automatic process. Key to the whole process is the GEA MaxiFormer that features GEA’s unique step-fill system that fills each cavity progressively to ensure a perfect shape. This, combined with its rigid drum design and unique knock-out system, reduces wastage, improves filling accuracy, creates a higher quality formed product with excellent shape retention, minimizes down time for cleaning and reduces power consupmption.  “The step-filling feature means that we can run with a slightly higher temperature on the meat prior to forming so we save energy,” said Per.  “For us that’s an important innovation for economy in production.”

“With GEA delivering all the equipment on the line we knew for sure that each element would fit together and be compatible,” said Per. This was important to ensure fast installation and reliability right from the start. “I like working with GEA,” he said.  “I can speak to people and they understand what I am talking about.  They provide a round-the-clock service with fast, easy solutions to improve the line capacity or performance. We run 60-hours production shifts, with only a quick forming drum replacement and some light rinsing of the conveyors approximately every 10 hours. For the rest, the operators just watch and overview. When the operators can put their hands in their pockets, and have nothing to do, I know it’s working well” concludes Per.