Challenge: Increasing food safety and production efficiency
Solution: Creating a one-of-a-kind automated production line
Maison BeauSoleil, which produces, packages and ships premium oysters, has a new pearl in its production process. The Néguac, N.B., company has developed a one-of-a-kind automated system that sorts, counts and boxes oysters. “It does what everyone on the plant floor does,” says General Manager Amédée Savoie.
The ability of the new system to tackle any job is important to the Acadian company, which helps fill more than 200 jobs worldwide. Many of those positions are local and increasingly difficult to staff. “This is a turning point,” says Amédée. “Our employees are getting older.”
Automation helps to enhances productivity, he notes. “Our industry is growing, but there are only 24 hours in a day. We’re trying to be more efficient and meet demand.”
The innovative new system, which will be up and running this spring, will also help improve product sustainability and food safety, adds Amédée. “The oysters spend less time in the plant and more time in the fridge. The process is faster.”
The automated production line is unique. “This doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” explains Amédée, who, along with an engineer, travelled on trade missions to Chicago and Montreal to explore packaging options. Then with a local programmer, they developed the novel system.
Launched in 2000, Maison BeauSoleil produces premium oysters in floating pockets. With the help of more than 50 producers in New Brunswick, the company distributes oysters throughout North America, Asia and Europe. The company’s automated system, one year in the making, will now position it to better meet market demand. “We have to look to the future,” says Amédée.
That forward-facing vision is critical for many companies to grow, he adds. “Everybody is looking at how to improve business, but few dip their feet in. We need to look to robots.”
And with automation comes better-paying jobs for employees, Amédée notes. “If we can make more, we can pay more.”
Partnerships focused on innovation and developing new technology, such as the one with the Government of Canada, are key to Maison BeauSoleil’s continued success. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Maison BeauSoleil upgrade and enhance its packaging line. With an investment of $ 500,000, the company is maximizing its packaging efficiencies with automated and precise systems to sort, count and pack products.
Maison BeauSoleil is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca
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