Linco weighing unit.

Few consider more than the succulent taste when tucking into chicken, steak or wors on a family braai – how does their favourite food make it from the field to the fire?

This is the business of DAS Food Systems, a small, but dynamic company that directs its nationwide operations from its headquarters in Cape Town’s Montague Gardens with a service branch in Gauteng.

Founder of the business, Bart Das, who is a second generation South African from Dutch parents, took his first tentative steps into the food processing business from an engineering background in 1992.

“We started out by representing York freezer division, which led to frequent contact with the poultry industry and approached Tieleman, then a major Dutch poultry processing machinery company mainly to become more directly involved in the poultry industry, when I heard that they were looking for an agent to represent them in South Africa,” explained Das. Tieleman are today part of LINCO of Denmark.

“The Netherlands has many well established companies that specialise in food processing and it wasn’t long after successfully developing the relationship with LINCO that I saw opportunities in the red meat and fishing industries and was able to secure similar agency agreements with these specialised companies. By securing exclusive representation agreements with some of Europe’s biggest names in the food business, did DAS flourish and today we still represent these major brands.

“Collectively we represent ten major European manufacturers of systems and equipment and where possible we integrate systems using local component manufacturers of quality equipment to fabricate to our principle’s designs.” 

“The food business is highly competitive and ours is not a fit and forget type of operation. Customers who invest in the quality and technology of our principles expect the same high quality of service to keep these systems operational on a 24/7 basis,” he says.

DAS supply and install equipment and offer continuous support and service that best suits the requirements of the industry sector. In addition to customers throughout South Africa, DAS maintain equipment supplied to food processors in Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and Zambia, seeing countries to the north as offering high potential for their products and services.

Poultry

For the poultry industry DAS supply systems and equipment that handle between 500 – 13,500 birds per hour, covering all operations from live bird handling, killing and defeathering, eviscerating, chilling, weighing and grading – through to deboning, meat separation, recovery of by-products, even down to abattoir hygiene and effluent water treatment.

The Steen range of poultry processing machines embodies an industrial concept for skinning and deboning of poultry in the most efficient way.

Poultry skinning

The range includes handfed and fully automatic machines for processing wet and air chilled poultry products such as chicken, turkey and ducks. 

Poultry deboners

Chicken and turkey de-boners use a patented design to achieve high yield and maximum speed while deboning ‘anatomically’ cut drumsticks, thighs and wings.

Mid-wing deboners

The firm’s mid-wing tulip processor has been specially developed to create unique and trendy “tulip” wing snacks.

Spare-rip cutters

The Spare-rib cutter optimizes the revenue of the thigh production by transforming the thighs into value added snacks.

Fillet splitters

Optimized yield of the fillet splitting is accomplished by removing the membrane to make single fillets out of butterfly.

Red meat

Through its representation of MPS (Meat Processing Systems,) DAS supply to the red meat industry automated slaughter lines for pigs, cattle and sheep, cutting and deboning lines, as well as intra-logistics systems for the food industry. Its pig and cattle slaughter lines have capacities from 10 to 1,400 pigs per hour and cattle slaughter lines with capacities from 10 to 150 cattle per hour.

As a dedicated process technology company Haarslev Industries supplies complete systems and equipment for the processing of animal by-products, domestic waste, sewage sludge, bio fuels and by-products from food and beverage production.

Fish

As agents for Haarslev, a leading supplier of process equipment for fishmeal and fish oil production, DAS provide special processes for low temperature meal, white fish meal, fish oil, process water concentration and odour control. The range of equipment covers the process from off-loading to grinding and bagging with many levels of automation. Compact plants for on board processing are also offered. 

Fruit, veg and pet food

DAS are also active in the fruit and veg and pet food processing industries where its expertise lies mainly in separating equipment and freezing systems. 

Van Hees food solutions

A joint venture company between DAS and Van Hees GmbH in Germany, which manufactures and supplies a variety of functional ingredients to all meat industries, Van Hees Food Solutions provide the Van Hees experience to the process meat industry supplying:

  • Preservatives 
  • Chopping agents 
  • Brine additives 
  • Emulsifiers 
  • Raw sausage blends 
  • Convenience products 
  • Spices 
  • Specialised additives 
  • Halaal

Sophisticated systems

“The handling of every type of food product is today very sophisticated involving technologies found in the most advanced process industries,” says Das.

Some specific examples include the LINCO Weigh Transfer model 520, a highly accurate system for weighing and transferring birds at high speed. The system incorporates state-of-the-art technology that provides ultimate weighing accuracy. This patented principle makes it possible to weigh whole birds with an accuracy better than ± 0.25% – in other words, with a tolerance better than ±3g for 1,200g birds – at a speed of up to 12,000 birds per hour.

The birds are weighed and distributed in standard two-leg shackles. This means that the Weigh Transfer model 520 can be incorporated anywhere in the process, e.g. from slaughtering to evisceration, or from evisceration to chilling, through to cut-up and distribution. The system is capable of re-hanging the birds from any pitch to any pitch – and from any leg spread to any leg spread – with a transfer efficiency of up to 99%.

Also from LINCO is its Vacuum Transport technology – an interesting alternative to move product in poultry and meat plants over long distances. Often excess production in one area will need to be transported to a place where additional capacity is available. When it is not convenient to use conveyors, vacuum transport technology can be an interesting alternative. Systems have been commissioned that transports food grade chicken portions over a distance of 100 meters.

Food process machinery systems company Schröder, manufacture injectors and massagers used in poultry marinating applications. This technology may be used to add brine mixes, flavours and colour to all poultry products. Its new generation IMAX Injectors, Brimax Mixing Systems and Max Massagers are equipped with intelligent technology, which provides live process monitoring and traceability. New process technology allows the addition of poultry trimmings to whole muscle cuts improving sensory quality and yield.

Abattoir hygiene and waste water treatment

In addition to process engineering equipment and systems for the food industry, DAS’ portfolio of agency agreements extends to abattoir hygiene and waste water treatment through its agreement with Redox Water Technology, a global supplier of water and wastewater treatment systems for more than thirty years. Redox has successfully completed the certification process for ISO 9001 and 14001.

Redox installations are designed for primary, secondary (biological) and tertiary wastewater treatment. From early pioneers in water treatment, Redox now specialises in the field of advanced water treatment equipment and techniques.

Poultry processing industry

Numerous different production processes are applied to process broilers, turkeys and ducks. Together with the bird’s specifications (species, weight, sex and age) they are responsible for the waste water flow and contamination. Different systems can be applied for a number of production processes which can have a huge impact on the waste water.

Red meat abattoirs

The pollution load per animal depends on the species, animal’s age, ambient temperature, transport and holding time (urine/manure production,) stunning method, blood collection time, skinning/dehairing, guts/stomach cleaning, cut-up, meat processing (tumbling/injection/sausage making etc.) further processing (battering/ frying etc,) meat scrap disposal policy, floor cleaning procedure and water temperature. The plant’s water usage eventually determines the final pollution concentration.

Fish processing industry

A widely diverse industry in which a multitude of processes is applied, the pollution load depends on the species, fresh or salt water, farm raised or wild caught fish, handling of the fish (off-loading.)