Food Engineering Features Clemens Hatfield North As 2023 Plant of the Year
In February 2023, Food Engineering named the Clemens Hatfield North expansion as its Plant of the Year. Gray delivered a wide range of design, construction, and engineering services for the 308,000 s.f. expansion. The project increased Clemens’ annual production capacity to more than 100 million pounds of cooked and smoked pork products and was completed on a 15-month timeline.
A feature article from Food Engineering Editor-in-Chief Derrick Teal reveals what made the project so exceptional and worthy of the recognition.
- LocationHatfield, PA
- Square Footage308,000 s.f.
- Operational15 months
Food & beverage processors grappling with record-high demand face tough challenges in growing their businesses. How can you boost production capacity and efficiency without overworking your team or cutting corners on best practices? How will you improve employee welfare to attract and retain the best talent without slowing production? How can you scale your processes without compromising your standards for product quality?
For Clemens Food Group, the answers weren’t so complex. When the customer needed to update and expand manufacturing operations and aging equipment systems at the campus of its longtime headquarters in Hatfield, PA, it trusted Gray to deliver a first-class facility.
Having partnered with Gray on another award-winning project for a production facility in Coldwater, MI, Clemens was well-acquainted with Gray’s services, project execution, and customer support. But most of all, the Clemens team knew and embraced the core values that drive Gray’s business.
“There was a strong bias to go with Gray because of our great experience working with them on the Coldwater project,” says Brad Clemens, president of Clemens Food Group. “[With] A project of this scope, you do have to value relationships. They value relationships; we value relationships. And that’s one of the things that’s definitely made this work.”
The project was anchored by initiatives to maximize food safety and employee welfare. “Being in business 127 years, you can’t get to this point without putting your people first and foremost,” says Clemens. “We want our team to be engaged, connected, and cared for. Part of that means [providing] a great workplace.”
To achieve these goals, the facility was divided into two distinct sides: one for raw processes and one for ready-to-eat (RTE) processes. This separation eliminated opportunities for cross-contamination, allowed for flexible production and easier maintenance, and reduced the physical demands on the plant’s workforce.
Every detail of the Hatfield North facility’s design supported the needs of these contrasting operations. These included preventing airflow from low- to high-hygiene areas, using smooth-faced stainless-steel equipment to promote total runoff during washdown, providing visual references such as color-coded doors and floors to distinguish raw from RTE areas, and many more.
So too did the expansion meet Clemens’ initial need for a larger facility with greater production capacity and efficiency. “It was a challenge,” says Gray Senior Project Manager Paul Kornman, “but it went nearly flawlessly.” Since beginning operations in July 2022, the facility has maintained production targets and helped expand the customer’s market share for its bacon, ham, and sausage products.
Clemens’ project team has been equally pleased with the results. “We went we looked at a lot of different plants, and I’ve never even seen a close second to what we’ve built here,” says Clemens’ Vice President of Facilities and Maintenance Brian Moyer.
“This facility is built for high-impact, high-volume type production where we can produce excellent products, but at scale,” added Clemens. “We can produce a lot of volume to meet the market where it is and give customers the products that they need.”
To read Food Engineering’s full article, click here.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.
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