Versatility is one of the outstanding features of the Poly-clip System PDC 600 semi-automatic double-clipper. This machine has been in use at Ihmann Landschlachterei for nearly six months. Managing Director and owner Erwin Bohmann, who took over the company from Richard and Helga Ihmann after many years as an employee there, discusses this machine and his experiences with it in this Fleischerei test report.
The Ihmann Landschlachterei in Rastede, Germany is characterized by its versatility. Not only does it provide households in the region with a full range of fresh meat products, but hungry customers can also buy warm meals at the hot food counter, others can take advantage of the company’s catering service for parties, and with five mobile shops, the slaughterhouse supplies many regional farmers’ markets. “Landschlachterei” – or “country slaughterhouse” – is meant literally: company employees slaughter and cut five large animals and circa 40 pigs per week – and even the beef cattle are the company’s own product; they come from Bohmann’s 70 ha farm, while the pigs come from area pork farms.
Poly-clip System has offered the semi-automatic PDC 600 double-clipper and its big brother, the PDC 700 – “big” only in the sense that it can handle larger calibers – for years. After thorough revision of the models at the beginning of this year, they have become even more flexible, easy to operate and efficient. “Of course, we also tried out other clippers,” explains master butcher Erwin Bohmann, “but in our view, none of the others did what the PDC 600 can.”
Both ergonomics and efficiency have been improved by the fact that the size of the separator opening can be adapted to the product calibre. This eliminates idle travel when the user presses the operating lever, which saves time and is less tiring than with a fixed separator opening. In addition, the manufacturer has optimized the operating lever so that its length can be individually adjusted to the operator’s needs.
But with all this, the clipper is not loud. Hissing and popping noises remain at a gratifyingly low level – Bohmann determined this when comparing it to other machines. “I’ve had many other clippers here that were much louder,” he says. The machine’s low air use also saves money. This means that the optimized automatic looper now only needs an air pressure of 3 bar.
When questioned about how long it takes to learn to use the PDC 600, Bohmann says with conviction, “One hour, then you’ve got it.” After this short period, Bohmann’s experience is that the machine is very easy to use. “The clipper is simple to operate – our apprentices can do it.” Incidentally, Landschlachterei Ihmann is also in the training business: in addition to three sales trainees, three junior butchers are learning their trade at the company.
Bohmann expressly praises the PDC 600’s versatility. It can process calibers from 20 to 90 mm, easily handles plastic, fibrous, collagen and natural casings and offers extensive retrofitting options, including an automatic looper, a string dispenser and a bobbin holder among others; in addition, a pneumatically moved casing brake holder, portioning for sausage tray and the ES 4000 labeling system are available.
The PDC 600 is also flexible in regard to placement. Not only is a table model available, it is also available with a height-adjustable v-shaped trolley that enables it to be easily pushed underneath a work counter. Bohmann decided on the variant with the trolley. “This makes the clipper very convenient; it fits easily under the work counter, and if necessary, it can be quickly rolled out of the way,” explains Bohmann.
The semi-automatic double-clipper makes it easier for the company to rapidly adapt its product assortment to market demands: “We currently produce a great deal in small casings, such as small liverwursts and small spreadable sausages, and that can be done very fast with the PDC 600.” Increased demand for small portions is certainly due to the increasing demographic trend to single households and small families, which has also affected Rastede.
Of course, work on the clipper is not limited solely to clipping; cleaning and retooling also require work. When asked about this aspect, Bohmann unhesitatingly gives the PDC 600 top marks. “Excellent – I can’t say anything else. After only a few minutes of cleaning with high-pressure cleaner and brushes, the clipper is perfectly clean.” There are absolutely no edges and ridges on which sausage residue could collect. Instead, smooth stainless steel surfaces and a housing that opens toward the bottom ensure easy cleaning and water drainage. The drive of the looper is located in a water-tight control box.
Managing Director Bohmann leaves maintenance up to the Poly-clip System experts. But his employees have no problems with necessary work on the machine that occurs outside of the regular maintenance cycle. The control box can be opened without tools and knife changes were greatly simplified as a result of the machine’s revamping.
In a worst-case situation, as Bohmann knows from experience, he can rely on Poly-clip System’s model service. “We can call Poly-clip at any time, and if the service technicians can’t help us by telephone, they send someone to us – either on the same day or at the very latest, on the next day. We can absolutely rely on this service.”
Managing Director Erwin Bohmann remains thoroughly convinced by his investment in the semi-automatic PDC 600 double-clipper. Its high performance, ergonomic operation and great flexibility make this semi-automatic machine ideal. Its optimized design – also in terms of cleaning and maintenance – and reliable, fast customer service round out its positive overall impression.