With the rage over bacon continuing into 2018 and no letup in sight, it’s no great surprise that meat industry equipment makers and suppliers are continuing to design and release new equipment to keep up with the demand for bacon, both in foodservice and in retail.
Packaging Progressions, Inc. (pacproinc) of Souderton, Pennsylvania, launched its new “Bacon-Centric” piece of equipment it designed and manufactured with an all-day demonstration and open house. The ProStax CBS4, an all-new automation system for pre-cooked bacon for foodservice, eliminates the labor required to count and stack sheets of already-cooked bacon. The new system handles four lanes of bacon and interfaces directly with processors’ existing paper interleaver. The technology runs up to 600 slices per minute per lane.
“This equipment is designed for big bacon producers who are making pre-cooked bacon for restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice clients,” said Drew Ward, CEO of pacproinc. The company designs and makes sanitary packaging and processing equipment for the food industry, including meat, poultry, seafood, baking, pasta and cheese. This equipment in the meat industry offers automation as an alternative, cutting down manual processes and labor, product handling, and increasing sanitation and food safety. Packaging Progressions is a world leader in designing and manufacturing of interleavers, stackers and interleaving material.
Interleaving is the process of separating meat products, usually with a paper sheet that can be discarded, making it easier for consumers to prepare meat products. “The ProStax CBS4 reduces labor for processors by automating the counting and stacking of cooked bacon sheets, and improves stack quality by keeping the stacks flat,” Ward says. “It improves downstream automation by separating stacks into individual units.”
(photo: Julie Desiderio)
The company is family-owned and last Spring opened its expanded 20,000 sq.-ft. headquarters in Souderton, a region containing scientific and technical manufacturers. The facility was moved there from nearby Collegeville. “We needed a lot more room,” says Larry Ward, Drew’s father, founder of the company in 1989, and now company chairman. He describes pacproinc as being “right in the middle” of the supply chain. “Because of what our equipment does, we’re sort of halfway between meat processing, which comes before sorting, counting and interleaving, and the packaging, at the end.”
The company also manufactures equipment for interleaving and stacking Philadelphia steaks, no surprise with the company is based in the Philadelphia region. But this launch’s theme was “all bacon, all the time.” And while the focus at the launching/open house was on the automation equipment for foodservice pre-cooked bacon, company officials also demonstrated their ProLeaver Card Dispenser, equipment for inserting and dispensing plastic or paperboard cards, that’s geared for retail bacon sales.
“Much of the equipment we make is suited and geared to large and medium-sized meat processors,” says Dante Pietrinferni, pacproinc president. Today, the company has active users in more than 10 countries and some of the largest processors in the US. “What we’re showing today can interface with upstream and downstream equipment, like slicers, formers, sheeters, and packaging machines.”