Thomas Foods International has announced plans for a new state-of-the-art meat processing facility at Murray Bridge, which will deploy the Dematic Multishuttle Meat Buffer and Pallet Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS).
With an estimated value of several hundred million dollars, it replaces the plant destroyed by fire on January 3 last year.
Thomas Foods CEO Darren Thomas has confirmed the new facility will be built on a greenfield site, 10km outside of the town centre.
“Today we re-affirm the commitment we made on Day One,” Thomas said in a statement.
“We plan to build the best, most advanced multi species processing facility in Australia, if not the world. And we will build it at Murray Bridge in South Australia,” he said.
Once fully operational, the new plant is expected to create around 2000 jobs, an estimated 400 of which will be required in the initial stages of production.
“Our new Murray Bridge facility has been designed with a focus on efficiency and sustainability of which Dematic’s advanced automation technology is a key component,” said Nekta Nicolaou, Group Engineering Manager at Thomas Foods International.
The automated solution is designed to accommodate the meat industry, as it can operate in both frozen and chilled environments. It allows for the transfer of product cartons between aisles without the use of a traditional conveyor system.
“With the current flood of demand for local product, this solution will improve Thomas Foods International’s in-house operations by providing a high-performance order fulfilment and despatch processing system,” said Soeren Schauki, Business Development Manager at Dematic.
“Even after the devastation of losing its previous facility, Thomas Foods International’s ambition to transform the new facility has positioned them as a leader for innovation in the industry, now with a self-sufficient, sustainable and resilient supply chain,” Schauki said.
Construction and commissioning of the first stage of the new plant is expected to be a 24-month process, with completion expected in late 2022.