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High-tech for forcemeat’s finest

Supplier: Vemag Australia
08 June, 2011

Meat company G. A. Müller GmbH is known for its pure range of cooked sausages produced in high volume.

Running the company jointly with his colleague Otmar Grünewald, general manager Jürgen Ohlenmacher, a master butcher and business administrator, procured the K 504 AC-8 high performance vacuum chopper and the AU 200 automatic grinder from Seydelmann some time ago. In this ’Die Fleischerei‘ field test, he talks about his practical experience gathered with the two new processing machines.

Specialist with tradition would be a good term to describe the meat company G. A. Müller GmbH which, based in Neu-Isenburg, Germany, is operating in the greater Frankfurt/Main economic area, and which is one of the very few meat manufacturers entitled to produce the original frankfurters, i.e. frank-type cooked sausages. Founded by Georg Adam Müller back in 1860, the company was the first industrial producer of original frankfurters. 

The company has meanwhile grown in size to cover an area of 2,500 m² today, and its 53 production floorstaffers are still involved in producing a pure range of frankfurter-type cooked sausages – as has always been the case before – and the bulk of this product range is sold to food retailers and discount markets. Seydelmann machines are nothing new to the people working for G. A. Müller; as a matter of fact, the model preceding the current 500-l chopper or cutter, if you will, on the company’s workfloor also had the Seydelmann nameplate on it.

"Talking about break-in time is hardly appropriate with this chopper", Jürgen Ohlenmacher points out, continuing: "because for us, there was no changeover in handling at all. What we have become used to with Seydelmann equipment also goes for the new chopper: it is highly user-friendly."

The vacuum chopper

The chopper is operated by way of cross-lever switches ergonomically arranged at the operator’s workplace. The control system is so conceived that it can even be operated without looking at it – provided, of course, the operator knows what he’s doing. And just in case a wrong switch is incidentally activated, a reciprocal electrical switch interlocking system is there to prevent a switching fault that could possibly cause damage. "The way these operating elements are arranged is clearly excellent," says Ohlenmacher in his evaluation.

Set parameters can be easily read from the Micro 114 control which, in turn, is separately mounted on the wall. Appearing large on the illuminated display, all indications shown can be clearly read, without a doubt, even from a distance of several meters, as we could see for ourselves. Also located here is the electronic programing unit which, among other functions, can also be used for infinitely variable speed rate adaptation of the chopper’s eight gears (six forward and two reverse) and also for complete storage of chopper process programs.

In case a customer so desires, the Micro 114 can also be replaced by the fully automatic Memory 3000 program control which comes with a high-end graphic user interface and a 19-inch screen to match. To quote Jürgen Ohlenmacher: "The chopper can certainly do a lot more than what we’re using it for, but we are simply focusing on our cooked sausage range which, on principle, includes the original frankfurter sausages, frankfurter beef sausage, ham bockwurst (large dia. franks with ham included) and ham-meat sausage. So it only follows that we are not even coming close to making full use of all programing possibilities available, not by a long shot."

What can also be programed is an automatic stop of the chopper process in case the forcemeat, i.e. the stuffing input being prepared, has failed to attain the preset temperature. For this purpose, an especially shaped stripper arm is mounted underneath the lid, with a temperature sensor flushly integrated into the arm’s foremost tip. Thanks to that conical shape, coarse material cannot get stuck on the sensor, thereby causing temperature readings to become inaccurate. As another option, the chopper could also have been equipped with an automatic balancing system and with an out-of-balance monitor which, to give one example, would function to immediately switch off the chopper in case a much-feared knife breakage should occur.

Compact and quiet

Describing a 500-l chopper as "small" would certainly be off the mark, but the space such a chopper needs for installation always varies with its manufacturer’s specific philosophy. "Control and switching cabinet are separate and not part of the machine itself", Ohlenmacher states with satisfaction, adding: "and as a result, this type of chopper is relatively compact, its bowl volume notwithstanding." As a matter of fact, and when coupled with that well thought-through machine design, the aspects pointed out by Ohlenmacher make the Seydelmann K 504 AC-8 the most compact chopper of its class. Separate placement of control and electronics offers benefits which are not only restricted to space savings on the production floor. For one, thesensible electronic system remains unaffected bythe chopper process vibrations, while for another, separate installation – at the G. A. Müller meat factory not even in the same room – also provides for better protection against humidity.

To give one example, this setup makes it impossible for members of a cleaning crew to mistreat these interference-sensitive elements with a steam-jet cleaner.

Over the course of years, these benefits pay forthemselves in terms of a lower repair and wear-and-tear susceptibility of the electronics system, in theend making for a longer useful lifetime as such. Itis also the ac technology that contributes its part to lower wear and tear and maintenance work susceptibility. The 3-phase ac (alternate current) drive with frequency converter is practically maintenance-free, since carbon brushes and air filters are not needed. Add to that the fact that, when compared to conventional drives, the AC chopper also saves up to 25 percent in electrical energy consumption.

In any meat processing or butcher plant, a chopper – or cutter, for those who prefer that term of the trade – undoubtedly ranks among the equipment units that make the cut in the literal as well as proverbial sense of the word, doing so loud and clear. But how loud? A certain noise level is naturally associated with the chopper process and therefore unavoidable. But even so, and as Ohlenmacher confirms, there is a world of difference between the noise levels caused by different chopper models. "The K 504 stays in line with what I expect from Seydelmann", he says, adding that its operating run is quiet and uniform, rounding off his judgement by affording his 500-l chopper the best possible rating grade.

No nooks and corners

Not much remains in the machine residue-wise, as we could see for ourselves. The purpose-designed shape of the ejector disk, as such one of the few machine components not made of stainless steel but of plastic, provides for even highly liquid matter in the chopper bowl to be completely emptied out fast.

And with its processing work done, the chopper still makes for a good showing. Explains Ohlenmacher: "Those large, even and smooth stainless steel surfaces can be cleaned in no time flat. Nooks and corners, where processed material residues or other contaminants could otherwise get stuck, are simply not in sight. And water does not stay on the machine either, because its design is such that all surfaces are placed at an angle."

So Jürgen Ohlenmacher would purchase the K 504 AC-8 vacuum chopper again any time, in which context the optional extras selected would in any case be governed by the product range the G. A. Müller meat company puts out. The unit’s hygiene-friendly and compact design, given a chopper of this volume, its high performance coupled with optimum processing results of the level that must necessarily be met in view of the product quality G. A. Müller stands for, and the chopper’s highly smooth and quiet operating runs make up the essence of this meat company manager’s positive experience.

The automatic grinder

Apart from the chopper, Ohlenmacher also uses an automatic Seydelmann grinder on his production floor, the AU 200 type automatic grinder, that is, which comes with an automatic loading device and a pneumatic separator set. Up to 10 t of material can be processed on this automatic grinder per hour, of course depending upon the rpm rate chosen, the hole size of the grinder plates, and the processing material itself. The automatic grinder’s input hopper has a capacity of 400 l.

Master butcher Ohlenmacher also attests to this automatic grinder’s high degree of user friendliness: "The push-button keys are logically arranged, and so is the unit’s overall handling." But whoever may think at this instance that switching the grinder on and off is all it takes, overlooks this automatic grinder’s thoroughly thought-through overall concept: The processing auger can be set to operate in two speeds, with Seydelmann recommending the first gear especially for fresh and surface-frozen meat and for meat inserts, for graining,