Case Farms

Winesburg, Ohio
Service Design-Build-Automate
Square Footage 161,000

Project details

The success of Primus’ design-build project for Case Farms in Dudley, NC led to this project in Winesburg, OH. Prior to kick off, The entire project team sat down with Case Farms and conducted a lessons learned to improve our approach to the Ohio project. Questions asked included:

  • How many pounds of chicken will satisfy their throughput goals? 
  • How many chickens will move in and out of the VRT? 
  • How many per shelf, per hour? How many robots? How fast? 

The data Primus collected during these conversations laid the groundwork for the optimal automation solution that ended up tripling the production of a typical blast freeze scenario. 

Like Dudley, this project featured two phases that took place simultaneously.

Phase 1: 

  • New Engine Room
  • 36,000 SF chicken processing facility with interstitial space
  • Access corridor
  • Processing utility areas

Phase 2:

  • 138,000 SF
  • -33° automated carton freezing solution
  • Palletizing area
  • Wet cooler dock
  • -10° storage freezer
  • Loading dock and additional support spaces
  • Supporting office

The Variable Retention Freezer (VRT) made Case Farms’ throughput goals possible. This piece of automated equipment is 50’ wide, 50’ high and 150’ long. Cold air is circulated around the product cases which reduces freezing time to 17-24 hours, about half the time of a traditional blast freezer. It is an extremely innovative process that improves product quality and reduces product loss. 

Once product completes the freezing process, it makes its way to the palletizing area via conveyor. When it arrives in the ProSort area, each case label is scanned to determine which lane of eight it will proceed to. Different products or end users can be programmed into the system. Case Farms can change the lanes to fulfill any order from any owner. This level of customization offers Case Farms the flexibility to meet their client needs with minimal disruption to production. 

The facility processes about 2.3 million pounds of chicken per week, or about 520,000 pounds a day. 


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