Beef attractively packed with MultiFresh™

In China the current meat consumption of 62 kilograms per head annually is around two kilos higher than in Germany. Despite state-sponsored campaigns to reduce meat consumption, this trend is likely to continue due to rising incomes. Consumer behaviour, particularly among the urban population, also shows a growing tendency towards packaged food, convenience products and ready meals. One company, which is already exploiting this development, is Dafang Fupin.

Dafang Fupin, which was only founded in 2015 as a joint venture between the property company Guangzhou Evergrande and the Bejing Zhonghehengrui Group, already plays a large role today in the domestic market. “The company set itself the target of achieving a high level of automation in its production and packaging procedures for beef processing,” explains Jianbo Zhao, Head of Purchasing at MULTIVAC China.

Dafang Fupin has big plans: 20 beef farms are due to emerge in the coming months, and the company's own abattoir is to be built for the production of fresh and processed beef. The project also contributes to the economic development of the region, since Dafang Fupin is not only creating jobs but also providing higher tax income for the local administration.

On the one hand, the company was looking for suitable solutions to produce transport packs (for supplying butcher's shops or maturing the meat in the pack), while on the other hand it was also looking for solutions to produce attractive retail packs of its high-quality beef products.

When it came to the new investment, Yulu Zhu, Technical Director at Dafang Fupin, initially favoured another packaging machine manufacturer, which was known to him from his previous employment, and which also had expertise in the area of beef packing.

But despite this, MULTIVAC succeeded in convincing Mr Zhu of its outstanding expertise. Before the project began, MULTIVAC conducted extensive tests and sample productions covering the various packaging technologies and pack designs, which had been put forward for consideration. “This enabled us to persuade Dafang Fupin in favour of MULTIVAC and to win the official tender in direct competition,” says Jianbo Zhao, Head of Purchasing, with obvious delight.

 

R 105 MF* thermoforming packaging machine

Cut-off length (mm)                  < 270
Forming depth (mm)                 < 50
Max. product protrusion (mm)  < 45

Hygiene standard                      MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™

*Depending on the equipment

Packing beef in shrink bags

Since May 2018 Dafang Fupin has now been using five compact C 500 double chamber machines and a SE 115 automatic shrink tunnel for packing fresh beef in shrink bags. The packs are used as transport packaging for cuts of meat weighing between five and ten kilograms. “Thanks to the use of this packaging technology, we have been able to extend the shelf life of our high-quality products to 65 days, as long as the cool chain with a temperature of zero to four degrees Celsius is not interrupted,” explains Yulu Zhu. The long shelf life even enables the products to be delivered to remote regions without any loss of quality.

At Dafang Fupin the packaging machines are combined with a SE 115 automatic shrink tunnel. The shrink tunnel is characterised by its simple handling and small space requirement of only 1,400 x 1,210 x 1,600 mm. It enables large batches and bulky or heavy packs up to 80 kilograms to be processed efficiently in energy-saving non-stop mode. The synchronisation of the MULTIVAC components ensures that the packing and shrinking procedure for the different products is performed without a hitch, and the shrink process is exceptionally sparing on the sensitive food products thanks to the low heat exposure.

 

C 500* double chamber machine

Length of the sealing bar (usable) in mm    2 x 650
Chamber depth (mm)                                  745
Chamber width (mm)                                   2 x 650
Chamber height (mm)                                 200                                

*Depending on the equipment

Vacuum skin packs with MultiFresh™

The company also invested in another three MULTIVAC packaging solutions, a compact R 105 MF thermoforming packaging machine, a T 800 high-output traysealer and a T 300 traysealer. These machines now produce attractive vacuum skin packs for chilled fresh meat of premium quality. This type of pack is generally in great demand, particularly in the food industry, since the pack protects the product reliably without deforming it.

“With MultiFresh™ we offered the company a packaging solution, which meets the high standards demanded by the pack design, and which also supports the value of the brand,” adds Jianbo Zhao. A MultiFresh™ pack is characterised by its natural presentation of the quality, freshness, colour and texture of the product, and also by the fact that the transparent upper web holds the product firmly in place and free of tension. Its allover sealing effectively reduces liquid escaping from the product and also extends the shelf life significantly.

The high-quality MultiFresh™ films have outstanding mechanical properties, which means that they can be used as a replacement for thicker materials without compromising quality. The upper webs have been designed for different product shapes and heights and are available in various standard thicknesses. This means that products, which have flat, medium-high or high profiles, as well as products with irregular contours, can all be packed consistently and reliably.

The R 105 MF is a cost-effective thermoforming packaging machine for producing high-quality vacuum skin packs in small and medium-sized batches. It enables small manufacturers as well as larger ones to make the entry into vacuum skin packing. As with all MultiFresh™ models, the R 105 MF is equipped with integrated upper web chain guidance, which ensures that the upper web is guided firmly into the sealing station during the packaging procedure.

The high-output T 800 traysealer on the other hand is designed for producing MAP packs and MultiFresh™ vacuum skin packs in large batches, and it enables trays with a product protrusion of up to 20 mm to be produced with an attractive pack appearance. The packaging machine, which can be scaled to particular requirements, has energy-efficient drive systems, can be washed down and allows for quick die changes. Thanks to the IPC06 machine control with touchscreen, its operation is exceptionally user-friendly. The packaging machine can be operated from both sides and is available with various equipment options.

 

Traysealer T 300*

Pack tracks                  ≤ 3
Tray depth (mm)          < 125
Output (cycles/min)     < 10
Hygiene standard        ­­­­­­­MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™

*Depending on the equipment

In addition to this, Dafang Fupin also invested in the fully automatic T 300 traysealer, which is equipped with two format sets. The machine was designed for packing products in small to medium-sized batches. Thanks to the simple die change, the T 300 can quickly be converted for different pack sizes and shapes. Electric drive systems for the tray transport, lifting unit and film trim winder ensure that it has an energy-efficient method of operation. The space-saving traysealer can be designed as multi-track and combined with various discharge systems.

“We use the T 300 to pack fresh meat under modified atmosphere as well as marinated meat in MultiFresh™,” explains Yulu Zhu.

The high-quality MultiFresh™ packs in microwavable materials for marinated meat offer consumers significant benefits, since they can be heated directly in the microwave, and the upper web is not released during the heating process. “This is a genuine convenience product, which is very easy to handle and reduces effort in the kitchen significantly. We see great market potential in this area,” says Jianbo Zhao.

The MAP packs, which are becoming increasingly popular in China, are gas flushed at this beef producer with a gas mixture, which is specifically matched to the particular product and has a 80% oxygen content. The colour of the meat remains appetizingly red and the pack content looks very fresh. The shelf life of the meat is up to seven days, as long as the chill temperature of four degrees Celsius is not exceeded.

Yulu Zhu is very satisfied with the cooperation with MULTIVAC. “The machines work very reliably and meet all our expectations. They also allow us to develop new pack shapes and products in the future, which means that we can expand our business model.” As Jianbo Zhao says summing up, “Mr Zhu brings more than 20 years of experience in processing fresh beef. He knows exactly, what needs to be taken into consideration and which type of pack is best suited to the particular product and market. The cooperation was very inspiring and constructive for both parties.”

Traysealer T 800*

Pack tracks                  ≤  2
Tray depth (mm)          < 130
Output (cycles/min)     < 15
Hygiene standard        ­­­­­­­MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™

*Depending on the equipment