The FEG Global engineering team recently designed and installed a new cold store for North East based prawn processing business, Libra Seafoods. The expansion meant increased capacity to allow for new opportunities and business growth.
Family-owned prawn processor Libra Seafoods has its sights firmly set on growth following significant investment in new facilities and R&D at its North East plant. A combination of a changing competitive landscape and an internal focus on innovation propelled a strategic shift to increase production capabilities. Supported by FEG Global, the company has now developed its operations to not only increase capacity but to offer new ranges and finished products to the market.
A CONDUIT TO GROWTH
Changes in supply chains and the threat of vertical integration meant the need to innovate and increase versatility and agility within the business for client, Libra Seafoods. An ambitious plan for growth and product development was put in place in 2020, with the introduction of a new NPD team and the opportunity for increased production facilities in a nearby vacated plant.
Integral to the growth strategy was the development of new production and storage facilities.
FEG set about building a state-of-the-art, new cold store in late 2022 that would increase on-site storage capacity, while enabling the existing site to add to its cooking and processing lines.
Excavation started in the depths of winter, with the FEG team engaged to design and deliver the new facility as a turnkey project.
Chris Williams, MD said:
“Our team managed the design planning, installation and commissioning of the turnkey project, as always having health and safety at the forefront of our priorities while ensuring we delivered on KPIs for the client. We had regular meetings and progress updates with the Libra Seafoods team to ensure everyone was kept in the loop and that the project was delivered to time and on budget.”
A SMART WORKING ENVIRONMENT
At a considerable 28m x 25m and some 7m height, the new cold store features 4 refrigeration units with chiller, condenser and evaporator units. The facility also incorporates automated mobile racking systems that allow for increased storage through their ability to create flexible access points. The entrance and exit points have been built with airlock features to block the entry of warm air, along with double shuttering and heated voids to stop any humidity that could freeze.
Sustainability was also fundamental in the design. The new site enables four times the capacity of the previous factory space but only uses the same amount of energy. Smart lighting and automated systems help achieve this. The underfloor system also features heating mats and insulation, with an excavation depth of some 700mm, to ensure that the ground underneath the cold store does not freeze and cause any concrete deterioration.
A TRUE PROJECT PARTNER
The team from FEG included expert engineers across structural & civil engineering, ECI engineering, mechanical engineering and process engineering. Andrew Muat, Purchasing Director at Libra Seafoods, praised the work that FEG had put into the project:
“We felt in safe hands throughout the entirety of the project. Even if issues did arise, as they always do, the FEG team took on responsibility and came to us with the solution rather than the problem. We really felt the passion for their work and that they were on our side – it was nice to work with a contractor that genuinely cares. Delivered on time and to budget, the work by FEG Global has opened doors for us and paved the way for our next phase of growth.”
Mike Muat, Operations Director at Libra Seafoods, added:
“We’re excited for the new projects that are coming our way and we would certainly look forward to entrusting FEG with future works.”