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Eskort increases Heidelberg factory's capacity by 50%

Eskort offers a look inside its expanded factory in Heidelberg, Gauteng. Video courtesy of Eskort

16th February 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Pork products producer Eskort has expanded its Heidelberg production capacity by 50%, with the factory extension officially launched in mid-February.

The 10 000 m² development in Heidelberg, which is a small town in Gauteng, where the company has produced pork products for 70 years, will allow the company to increase production to meet retail needs.

“This addition doubles our chilled and frozen cold stores, resulting in efficient picking and staging areas and allowing us to eliminate outsourcing costs, while our deboning lines have increased in size to meet the ever-rising demand. We also have new dispatch areas and loading bays to maximise productivity,” says Eskort CEO Arnold Prinsloo.

The enlarged factory is equipped with the largest continuous box freezer in Africa, capable of freezing 120 000 kg of products to -18 °C every 24 hours, he says.

Boxes move on a conveyor belt through the freezing chamber where the air is kept at -41 °C, which is a temperature that occurs naturally only in polar regions.

“The chilled and frozen warehouses in Heidelberg now have multi-level picking mezzanine floor systems, which are the first of their kind in the food industry in South Africa. These systems maximise vertical space by including mezzanine floors that create additional levels for storage and picking, and they allow us to handle a high volume of orders quickly and efficiently,” Prinsloo points out.

“The core objective of the factory extension is to create efficiencies. A big part of this expansion includes the addition of carcass chillers as well as the installation of a huge box freezer to accommodate the influx of raw material,” he says.

Eskort has two factories – one in Estcourt, in KwaZulu-Natal, and the other in Heidelberg. This opening of the factory extension marks the next phase of growth for a company that started in the small KwaZulu-Natal Midlands town of Estcourt in 1917, he adds.

Further, Eskort’s farmers are shareholders in the company, its pork is antibiotic-free, and a significant investment in biosecurity, which is backed by international and local certification, means its premium, export-quality products enjoy the trust of consumers throughout South Africa, he says.

“The factory extension is a sign of Eskort’s resilience, adaptability and vision, and a testament to the efficacy of the leadership lessons it has absorbed through good and bad times over more than a century,” Prinsloo says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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