Wayne Farms has announced completion of a major upgrade and capacity expansion to its Decatur Prepared Foods Facility with the installation of a new cooked line and supporting spiral freezer.

Production Line 51 joins nine existing production lines at Decatur Prepared Foods, adding another 80 positions to the complex. The upgrade brings total employment to more than 1,100 and enables the facility to increase production by more than 42 million pounds each year. The new line can produce both steamed and roasted bone-in wing products and features state-of-the- industry processing and packaging technology from industry leaders GEA, JBT, and JBS. The line’s twin-drum oven set up and spiral freezer was designed to serve existing customers and accommodate new business.

“This new line is an investment for our company and our customers—we’ll be able to quickly scale to meet their needs and also offer new products and solutions,” noted Heath Loyd, senior director of prepared foods. Tom Bell, vice president of Prepared Foods Wayne Farms, echoed Loyd’s excitement. “Consumption is up and demand for prepared, easy-to-serve chicken has never been higher,” said Bell. “With this new line, the opportunities for Wayne Farms and for our customers goes to a new level.”

The line’s new twin-drum oven system improves both processing yield and product end quality, by uniformly distributing heat via hot air across the spiral oven’s two rotating tiers. The oven is electrically-driven, a more efficient and consistent design than traditional thermal fluid systems using oil and gas. The new system brings another level of sophistication to the Wayne Farms Decatur East/West Prepared Foods complex, already one of the industry’s most advanced poultry further-processing facilities.

The complex produces a variety of chicken entrée, appetizer and menu ingredient items for restaurant, foodservice and retail customers including fully cooked, frozen, par-fried, marinated, sous vide, and sausage products. Decatur’s dual-plant operation is co-located with Wayne Farms’ USDA certified Customer Innovation Center, an R&D showcase of food and culinary technology complete with test kitchen and commercial food preparation equipment.

The Customer Innovation Center, in tandem with processing operations, delivers a linear solution for product development to Wayne Farms customers, taking new product ideas from drawing board and prototype to full scale production in the adjacent East/West Prepared Foods pilot plant.

Source: Wayne Farms