Turnkey Project Services Enable Greater Production Capacity and Efficiency.
Prestage Farms, established in 1983, is a family-owned business that creates quality pork and turkey products. The company and its affiliates process more than 1 billion pounds of turkey and pork annually, employ nearly 2,000 associates, and contract with over 450 farm families.
For this greenfield project, known as Prestage Foods of South Carolina, the customer selected Gray to design and build a 295,000 s.f. state-of-the-art turkey processing facility.
- LocationCamden, SC
- Square Footage295,000 s.f.
- Operational16 months
introducing prestage foods of south carolina
Gray delivered a wide range of design, construction, engineering, and equipment services for the new facility. The operation includes the only air-chill turkey processing model in the Western Hemisphere—an advancement from traditional water-chill processing. This unique model greatly reduces the risk of cross-contamination and eliminates the need to introduce chemicals such as chlorine into food-grade processes, which can be absorbed and retained inside the meat. To maintain product separation and continuous processing, the birds are air-chilled on shackle chains that move throughout the refrigerated space on multiple process lines. The system features a staggering 13 miles of shackle chain, by far the largest in the poultry industry, and can process 48,000 birds per day.
To ensure stringent sanitation standards, maximum food safety, and the highest level of automation and traceability, Gray provided a variety of process utilities, including Clean-in-Place (CIP) systems and vacuum and pump systems. The plant’s CIP ozone skid system functions across critical processes, using a liquid application to treat conveyor surfaces as well as ambient O2 molecules to treat the water supply.
Gray further supported the project with complete piping design, along with supply and installation services for the plant’s process and vacuum line systems and chillers.
Capping off an incredible project, Prestage Foods of South Carolina was honored by ProFood World magazine with the 2023 Manufacturing Innovation award. The project received the award for excellence and ingenuity in facility design and construction as well as process & packaging systems design and engineering.
Outstanding features of the facility included the Western Hemisphere’s only air-chill processing model, the poultry processing industry’s longest shackle chain system, and automation and ergonomic elements throughout the facility that reduce physical demand on the plant’s workforce, increasing worker comfort and safety, sanitation, and product quality. The automated air-chill process keeps birds separated and continuously moving through the facility, greatly reducing the facility’s water consumption and the opportunity for cross-contamination. With the new production model, the customer is able to reduce labor costs while boosting production capacity.
Prestage Farms and Gray received the award in September during the presentation ceremony at PACK EXPO in Las Vegas.
- 48,000 birdsAt full capacity, Prestage Farms' Camden, SC, facility can process 48,000 turkeys per day.
- 13 milesPrestage Farms' air-chill processing model features the industry's largest single-shackle chain system at 13 miles.
Process & Packaging Systems Engineering
Automation & Controls
Custom equipment Ovens & cookers Process skids Batching equipment Clean-in-place systems Bioreactors Extruders Distributed products Mixers & blenders
Cooper Farms is one of the largest family-owned turkey processing companies in the country, and given our customer relationships with Clemens Food Group and Champion Petfoods, the company selected Gray. This project included an expansion as well as a renovation of multiple areas inside the existing operational facility.
Clemens Food Group is sixth-generation, family-owned integrated pork production operation including farming, processing, transportation, and logistics. As one of the leading pork processing companies in the U.S., Clemens needed to expand operations to support record demand. In 2014, the customer chose s 400-acre site in Coldwater, Michigan, for its newest operation—the first greenfield project in Clemens’ 125-year history—and came to Gray to design and build the facility.
Clemens Food Group is one of the leading pork processing companies in the U.S. When Clemens was looking to expand with a new smoked pork manufacturing facility, the company turned to trusted partner Gray for its design-build and food processing expertise.