MATERIALS HANDLING: Cold Conveying At Garon Foods
Recent Western Cape Business News
GARON FOODS, founded 19 years ago in Cape Town as a seafood delicatessen supplying a range of products to two of South Africa’s leading super market chains, selected a FlexLink conveyor from Flexible Conveyor Systems to streamline the production and packaging of food product that requires special cooling before sealing.
Food technologist, Ruan Brits, who has been with Killarney Gardens-based Garon Foods for four years, shares a brief history of the company: “The seafood deli started as a family business, owned by husband and wife team, Gary and Sharon Rae, with one product line supplying two supermarket chains. The company has since grown into a major supplier of a range of tasty, high quality products packaged exclusively for one of South Africa’s leading gourmet food chains. The Raes, both food technologists, always had their hearts set on Garon Foods being selected to manufacture and package food products for an upmarket food chain. In 2002, Garon landed the first order for the supply of prawn cocktails to this chain.”
The food chain requested that Garon Foods expand the range and the company launched new food lines produced and packaged exclusively for this well known label. The seafood range proved so popular and grew so rapidly that the original factory could no longer cope with production for the two supermarket chains as well as for the gourmet food chain so, in 2006, Garon Foods moved the brand specific food lines into a new, purpose built factory while the old factory continued producing the original lines until early 2009 when that part of the business was sold.
The new factory now produces solely for the gourmet food chain, currently supplying frozen lines, deli seafood, party foods, primal or raw fish, long life products, as well as several other seafood lines. Garon is constantly researching and developing new food lines for their client.
“This is a first for us as we have up to now used mostly locally manufactured conveyor systems supplied with the various machines we have ordered for different applications. However, during a recent visit to an overseas exhibition, the Raes came across FlexLink conveyor systems. The quality and versatility of the product convinced them that a FlexLink conveyor system would be ideal in our line of business, especially for one of our products with a gelatine layer which requires cooling a few minutes before the container is sealed,” explains Brits.
“We made enquiries; Flexible Conveyor Systems immediately contacted us and arranged a visit to our factory. Currently, our staff has to carry the individual containers into the cold store and leave them for 10 to 15 minutes to cool before they remove them for sealing and dispatch. We knew we needed a conveyor system to streamline the process but we faced another challenge in that we have grown so rapidly that we are running out of space – we have the height but simply not the 30 to 40 metres of floor space required to install the necessary conveyor for the product”, explains Brits.
“They clearly understood our need to streamline this necessary, but time consuming manual process, and were able to address all our challenges. The space constraints were factored in and commended the FlexLink Alpine conveyor which delivers on all fronts. Measuring 1.5m X 2.2m X 1.75, with a conveyor belt or chain width of only 102 mm, it fits perfectly into a corner space of 6 sq m and will move the containers in and out of the cooling process for the specified time at a height of 900mm, ready for sealing and dispatch.”
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