In 2021, Clemens Food Group found themselves with a new challenge on their hands: outdated facilities and a growing demand for their products. Their original facility, a patchwork of expansions over the years, needed a transformation to meet modern food safety standards and bolster production capabilities. “Turning Clemens’ vision into reality was our goal,” said Brian Moyer, Vice President of Facilities and Engineering at Clemens Food Group.
Brian recalls some of the specific reasons leading to the decision to build a new facility, “Aging smokehouse ovens, overcapacity of the existing plant, and evolving food safety regulations – our old ovens were past their prime,” explained Moyer, which added urgency to the upgrades. Moreover, the fact that the existing facility could no longer keep pace with the higher market demands, and stricter food safety guidelines made a new facility a necessity.
Clemens Food Group took a bold step in choosing to construct a new facility from scratch. Moyer notes, “We wanted to create a facility that combined compliance with efficiency.” The new design featured spacious interiors, high ceilings, and advanced sanitation systems. “Our focus was on creating a hygienic and streamlined environment,” Moyer remarked. It was vital that the project feature drainage systems that would support these innovative goals. FoodSafe Drains was able to offer fully stainless steel slot drains that would allow Clemens to meet their target for the project.
Sanitation and USDA Integration:
The innovative 10,000 Series FoodSafe Slot Drain that was utilized is a fully stainless steel product, built from the ground-up to meet the highest NSF and food safety guidelines. Using this system, FoodSafe Drains could guarantee that they could significantly improved the facility’s sanitation, aligning with stringent requirements. Moyer emphasized, “The USDA plays an integral role in our daily operations, ensuring our commitment to food safety.”
The outcomes achieved by the new facility were striking. “We achieved a 50% capacity increase in our smoked meats complex,” Moyer stated. The production capacity surged from 60 million lbs., to 90 million lbs. annually. The introduction of a new pre-cooked sausage line showcased an even more remarkable transformation, expanding from 8-9 million lbs., to 25-27 million lbs. per year.
Focus on Maintenance and Long-term Benefits:
The facility’s future-proofed design extended beyond production. “We aimed to make maintenance easier,” Moyer explained. The incorporation of easy to clean slot drains and efficient layout design streamlined cleaning procedures, promising long-term benefits. Moyer acknowledged, “Our facility is easier to maintain.”
Recognition and Future Outlook: Clemens Food Group’s Hatfield Pork Processing Facility garnered recognition as the recipient of FOOD ENGINEERING magazine’s Plant of the Year Award, validating their commitment to excellence and innovation. FE’s editor Derrick Teal writes, “Clemens Food Group’s Hatfield North facility was FE’s 2023 Plant of the Year Award winner for the project team’s vision and execution of improving business while focusing on human welfare.”
Clemens Food Group’s endeavor to modernize is a testament to their dedication to excellence. Their ability to address challenges related to aging equipment, capacity, and evolving regulations position them for long-term success. “We’ve built a facility that aligns with our commitment to quality and innovation.” Moyer concluded.