McCain potato plant’s big new upgrade

The state-of-the-art McCain potato processing plant in Delmas, Mpumalanga, which upped its production rates to 15.5 tons per hour with a significant upgrade in 2008, has recently completed a total revamp of its raw material receiving system at a cost of circa R40 million.

“While the processing plant is running highly efficiently, we identified improvement opportunities in the potato receiving system that were limiting our production facilities,” explains Rob Stevens Managing Director of McCain South Africa. “As the range of products we were processing expanded and changed with the increased capacity in the plant, so too did the profile of the raw materials, which began placing additional pressure on our receiving area. The new raw material receiving system will alleviate problem while at the same time benefit our farmers as it will allow us to utilise more of the available potatoes.”

It became necessary for McCain to undertake a complete analysis of the potato offload, receiving and storage requirements for existing and future needs. The primary considerations for the upgrade included meeting the stringent standards of the Gold Standard Accreditation that the plant was awarded by global food safety regulator AIB International in 2009; as well as reducing breakage, spillage, and bruising; eliminating the mixing of cultivars and grades; improving the efficient removal of soil, and eliminating stones in sweet potatoes.

The upgrade included adapting the receiving processes, as well as installing a second receiving line to improve efficiencies throughout the receiving system. The capacity of the upgraded raw material receiving system has increased to 30 tons per hour.

“Already major benefits to the upgrade are evident and there has been a sharp decline in the levels of spoilage of the raw materials. We have also reduced delivery truck standing time, met all the requirements highlighted in the analysis of the system, and improved working conditions and thus job satisfaction among our receiving area staff. In addition, with the new system, we are using less water on the sweet potatoes, which is an important environmental consideration,” continues Stevens.

“This factory remains a pride and joy of McCain and has contributed to changing the face of frozen processed potato products in South Africa. We are determined to ensure that our McCain facilities always remain ahead of its time throughout all the systems, processes and areas, ensuring we continue to entrench our reputation as the leading manufacturer of frozen potatoes products in South Africa.”

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