Located in Dandong, China, Zhengrun Food is the leading integrated supplier of seafood products. Domestically they are selling 45,000 tons of fresh seafood and exporting 6,000 tons of frozen seafood products to Japan, the United States, and other countries each year.
TECHNOLOGY EMPOWERMENT: FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT FROM THE SOURCE
Frozen clam meat is one of Zhengrun’s primary products. They keep a watchful eye on their upstream suppliers and manage each processing link with strict requirements and high standards to ensure excellent, healthy, and safe products.
Zhengrun had identified that there are still some errors and uncertainties associated with the manual selection of clam meat, so it was necessary to optimize and find a solution.
"We hope to make premium products in the marine industry and provide consumers with genuinely trustworthy and high-quality seafood products through automation. From the perspective of enterprise development, automation is just the trend."
Yu Shouzheng, General Manager of Zhengrun Food Co., Ltd.
Zhengrun began to look for solutions at the China Fisheries Exhibition in 2018. Through this exhibition, Zhengrun conducted a comprehensive investigation into the automatic sorting equipment and had an in-depth discussion with TOMRA on the difficulties and demands of quality control and operation. TOMRA’s rich experience in food sorting made Zhengrun see a promising future in automatic sorting. After that, Zhengrun took samples to TOMRA’s Xiamen Test Center.
Zhengrun has very high demands for the sorting of its products. Specifications of clam meat can be impacted by the season, temperature, and other variables, resulting in differences in fatness, shape, size. The raw materials are often mixed with various impurities or foreign material, which adds other difficulties. Additionally, the salt content of seafood is relatively high, which requires the sorting equipment to possess specific anti-corrosion properties.
Li Pengyi, factory director of Zhengrun, said, “At Xiamen Test Center, we were delighted with the samples’ test results. It is highly feasible to select TOMRA 5B for automatic sorting of specifications, and most foreign objects can be removed.”
The inert protective layer of TOMRA’s equipment can effectively prevent corrosion and withstand low temperatures. The whole machine is waterproof, which is also convenient for cleaning and maintenance. After being satisfied with the results of the sorting test, Zhengrun decided to partner with TOMRA.
STABLE AND HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT OUTPUT ASSISTS IN PERSISTENT EARNINGS
In addition to food safety, some core factors influencing the quality of clam products are many foreign objects and uneven shapes.
For traditional sorting, it takes a great deal of manual labor to solve this problem. Moreover, it is difficult for clam meat with similar size to achieve fine sorting manually, which directly leads to inaccurate product grading and a waste of benefits. Thanks to TOMRA 5B, clam meat with different specifications and impurities can be easily identified.
With its precise specification sorting, the TOMRA 5B combines a variety of advanced sensor technologies. It is equipped with advanced algorithms developed by TOMRA that determine products’ shape and characteristics and accurately identify each product’s small defects. The TOMRA 5B helps Zhengrun by delivering consistently high-quality products and meeting the increasingly stringent end consumers’ needs.
TOMRA helps Zhengrun maintain consistently high-quality products with its precise sorting ability, thus enhancing its market reputation while steadily improving efficiency. In the past, the maximum throughput of personnel working at full capacity was about 750 kg/h. The TOMRA 5B has brought that up to 1,200 kg/h. At the same time, it has reduced 80% of labor costs. Although cheap manpower exists, it may change with external factors such as politics, economy, and environment, thus causing unnecessary business risks.
"For traditional manual sorting, 25 people are needed, and each person’s hourly production capacity is only 20 kg - 30 kg. With the use of TOMRA 5B optical sorting equipment, the number of people required for sorting has been reduced to five, while the production capacity has increased to 800 kg - 1200 kg/h. These five people only need to do simple equipment operation and product sampling. In this sense, it is a qualitative improvement in both efficiency and employees’ work experience."
Li Pengyi, Factory Director of Zhengrun Food Co., Ltd.
TOMRA: SAFE CHOICE, MORE THAN TECHNICAL
Consumers have increasingly strict product requirements and know that they can use their purchasing power to demand the best. By actively embracing changes in the market and technological developments, Zhengrun is developing inward, growing outward, and staying ahead of the curve. Behind them, TOMRA provides continuous support with its professional technology and stable equipment.
"At present, we are quite satisfied with TOMRA’s equipment and services. TOMRA’s local presales and after-sales service teams have been actively contacting the factory. They are always able to respond to and solve our questions and problems quickly. We also hope that TOMRA will have another development in the seafood industry. In the future, we also intend to have further technical exchanges with TOMRA in other categories, such as vacuum-packed clams."
Jia Yaping, Deputy General Manager of Zhengrun Food Co., Ltd.
With development driven by innovation, Zhengrun firmly believes that using advanced technology provides customers with safe and trustworthy food. TOMRA, which has innovation rooted in its genes, has been continuously redefining sorting technology to provide customers with better and more efficient solutions. TOMRA also believes that the automatic sorting solution can empower more food companies in the future.