Preserving meat quality: using IFCO RPCs for meat warehouse automation

written by IFCO SYSTEMS, 16th April 2019, in Reference Cases

As a company specialized in slicing and packaging meat for distribution, Spain’s Sediasa Alimentación has to adhere to strict cold chain requirements. By applying IFCO’s foldable meat RPCs, Sediasa Alimentación meets this challenge.

Around the world, the average amount of meat consumed per person globally has nearly doubled in the past 50 years. To get this popular food safely to its consumers, food professionals have to adhere to safety requirements at every stage of the meat processing chain. Because these products are highly perishable, improper handling could result in contamination or spoilage, and result in a strong health risk to consumers. This is why sturdy and durable packaging for meat transportation is essential.

One company that is aware of this need each day is Sediasa Alimentación. The company, based near Madrid, Spain, specializes in slicing, processing, packaging and distributing fresh meat – primarily pork, beef, lamb – as well as delicatessen meats and cheese. The company has an annual production capacity of about 70 million kilograms. "The packaging solutions have to protect the meat and at the same time have to allow correct refrigeration," says Francisco Ramos, Sediasa Alimentación director. "Humidity or water damage can negatively affect the flavor and texture of products as well," adds Ramos. "So it is essential to have packaging that does not generate more humidity than needed during our processes and for our products."

Keeping the meat fresh

To meet this challenge, ten years ago the company started using IFCO RPCs – with success. "With the capability to transport both our frozen and refrigerated meat, IFCO RPCs in the meat lift lock series can hold up to one liter of water," says Ramos. Through durable construction that is unaffected by moisture, pallet stability is unaffected by refrigerated environments, and product protection is ensured. IFCO RPCs also help to maintain proper temperatures in the cold chain through providing optimal ventilation in every part of the process, from the food packing to the final point of sale.

So it is essential to have packaging that does not generate more humidity than needed during our processes and for our products.”

Improving efficiency

IFCO RPCs also enable a high level of robotics and automation, which improve efficiency by reducing the need for manual handling. "IFCO RPCs are moved easily across our automatized processes and are more efficient in protecting our packed products," explains Ramos. "From the packaging area, the crate gets automatically transported to the storage area, which has a capacity of 40,000 crates, and where a transit robot stores the crates. Then these crates, in accordance with the purchase order, are passed to the pallet forming area, where each independent robot can, at high speeds, load four store orders at the same time.

When this process is complete, the pallet goes automatically to the baling and labeling area. After the pallet is confirmed, the truck is loaded," Ramos continues. In accomplishing these steps, Ramos especially praises the rigidity and the bottom shape of IFCO RPCs "since these characteristics prevent slipping on the conveyor, and make the process more efficient. They also offer superior product protection and enhance food safety in our truckloads."

Ramos describes another measure that ensures food safety as well as efficiency. IFCO RPCs within the facility are tracked with a double system of QR and bar code to deliver real data on the actual position of unit. Sediasa’s artificial vision system reads the codes to establish exactly where each IFCO RPC is from the beginning to the end of the process. Annually, Sediasa Alimentación makes use of around eight million IFCO RPCs.

For Sediasa, social and environmental criteria also contribute to its economic success. Using IFCO RPCs, one of the first foldable meat crates on the market, results in less waste, better use of storage space and reduced emissions during shipping. "We also wanted to be more environmentally friendly, and we have reduced our single-use packaging waste by 80 per cent," says Ramos.

One of the main food industry’s challenges is to guarantee food safety while operating efficiently and in an environmentally sound manner. IFCO RPCs allow its customers to focus on food safety while increasing handling efficiency.

Overview Facts – Case Study

Sediasa Alimentación in Rivas, near Madrid, Spain

  • Sediasa Alimentación is a company specialized in slicing and packaging food for distribution.
  • With a production capacity of over 70 million kilos per year, its objective is to give added value to the food supply chain, with packaging and formats adapted to the characteristics of each household.
  • Ten years ago the company started using IFCO RPCs.
  • Annually, Sediasa Alimentación uses around eight million IFCO RPCs.

Our reusable packaging solutions for meat

IFCO supplies sturdy, food-safe Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) suitable for frozen and chilled case-ready meat. Tough and durable, its design ensures the best possible temperature control, maintaining meat freshness and quality.

learn more

These articles will also be interesting for you

How IFCO Meat RPCs generate efficiency for Argentina’s La Anónima

learn more

Why IFCO reusable plastic containers are optimal for warehouse automation

learn more

The fascination of handling fresh produce with warehouse automation

learn more