EC Medina Transforms the Packaging Process With the QUPAQ Step Loader

By decreasing manual labor, enhancing food SAFETY AND BOOSTING efficiency, EC Medina achieved an attractive ROI and exceeded all expectations in productivity and reliability.


Enhancing Food Safety and Efficiency

Discover how EC Medina, Spain’s leading beef company, transformed their packaging process with the QUPAQ Step Loader, provided by Juel Concept. By decreasing manual labor, enhancing food safety and boosting efficiency, EC Medina achieved an attractive ROI and exceeded all expectations in productivity and reliability.

As the leading beef company in Spain, EC Medina holds a prominent position in the market, supplying high-quality beef to major retailers like Mercadona. With three plants equipped with the latest technologies, EC Medina process approximately 300,000 cattle annually, outputting and packing more than 300 tons of boneless meat per day.

However, despite their already impressive operations, EC Medina found room for improvement still in their packaging process, particularly concerning manual labor, food safety, and production efficiency. These challenges prompted them to seek innovative solutions to automate and enhance their packaging process at their facility in Buñol, Valencia.

Who is EC Medina?

  • EC Medina is a company founded in 1973 specialized in the production, processing, and distribution of meat products.
    They have 3 state of the art factories with the latest technologies for food processing and packaging.
    Handle more than 300 ton of deboned meat per day.
    Sales: 75.000 ton of beef per year.

Our Solution at EC Medina:
Three QUPAQ Step Loaders with dual orientated tools, provided by our Preferred Partner, Juel Concept.

Head-To-Head Competition
EC Medina’s goals were to eliminate manual labor and enhance food safety standards, while boosting efficiency and maintaining a high level of productivity across their production lines. Additionally, they required a solution that could be seamlessly integrated into their existing operations and provide flexibility to accommodate various tray sizes, product types, and production demands.

In their quest for the right solution, EC Medina evaluated offerings from three local suppliers in a head-to-head competition at their site in Buñol, Valencia. Among them were Juel Concept, QUPAQ’s Preferred Partner in Spain, who immediately had the perfect automated solution in mind. A solution that perfectly aligned with EC Medina’s requirements, while operating 20 continuous hours a day with no compromise on efficiency and reliability.

“EC Medina was facing a manual process where they needed 8-9 operators to reach the speed of 40-45 trays per minute. The speed was not stable, and it very much depended on the ability of the operators. Some worked faster than others, but in general it was difficult to keep a stable and high output during the day. Though wearing gloves, each operator had to manipulate and touch each portion by hand, increasing the risk of cross contamination,” Ulrik Juel from Juel Concept states.

The QUPAQ Step Loader

Juel Concept introduced EC Medina to the QUPAQ Step Loader with a dual-orientated tool, offering the versatility to handle both short-side and long-side leading tray configurations. This solution proved to be the best for EC Medina, as it provided them with a compact, user-friendly, and highly efficient tray loading system that could accommodate multiple recipes and products on the same line.

To this, Rubén Romero, Maintenance Manager at EC Medina says: “QUPAQ installed the solution in 1 hour and the trial took only two hours before we decided to move it into the production line. It has been there since, and two more QUPAQ Step Loaders have been added afterwards.” He furthermore adds: “From the beginning, we had the utmost confidence in Juel Concept, who was already a supplier for us.”

‘Spanish Cuts’ – Less Re-Work, Less Waste
Today, EC Medina handles more than 300 tons of boneless meat daily, equivalent to more than 300,000 trays per day. EC Medina uses the QUPAQ Step Loaders to load large portions of sliced meat, known as ‘Spanish Cuts’, which fill the trays entirely. ‘Spanish Cuts’ are characterized by their long and thin slices, which also can be difficult to load when not using the right equipment.

Ulrik Juel remember this challenge and recalls: “EC Medina supply portions with a gap in weight between 450-550g, and by eliminating the manual process, they have experienced less re-work due to less portions out of range. The manual workers sometimes added too much product to the tray, which would be rejected after weight check. Now nobody touches the sliced portions before they are inside the tray. This means less re-work and less waste.”

Prepared to Meet the Future Demands

Today EC Medina has 12 lines running at their facility in Buñol, Valencia with three QUPAQ Step Loaders incorporated in the lines. Since implementing the first QUPAQ Step Loader in 2021, they have run more than 20 million trays on the QUPAQ Step Loader lines. However, EC Medina‘s decision-making process extended beyond immediate requirements and the need for fast results when then acquired the QUPAQ Step Loader solutions.

“By thinking long-term and selecting a solution that can adapt and expand alongside their needs, EC Medina has now future-proofed their business by reducing unnecessary expenses on upgrades and replacements, which makes the solution a much more sustainable investment,” Ulrik Juel says.

It creates a flexible and agile production line that can adjust to the market’s demands, ensuring EC Medina‘s long-term competitiveness. Rubén emphasizes the significance of long-term thinking, stating: “We currently operate with only one format per QUPAQ Step Loader, but we feel prepared for the future with features like quick changeovers and the ability to run both short side and long side leading on the same line, along with the ability to run different patterns.”

Fast Return of Investment

With the implementation of the QUPAQ Step Loaders, EC Medina has achieved significant cost savings by saving approximately 10-12 operators per line. This translates to a ROI in less than a year for the QUPAQ Step Loader, calculating only the savings in manpower.

Moreover, Rubén emphasizes that the results delivered by the QUPAQ Step Loader leave no doubt that they chose the right solution: “EC Medina‘s mission is to provide the best product to the market with the highest food safety possible. The QUPAQ Step Loader is the perfect fit to fulfil this mission, and the equipment has fulfilled our every expectation of efficiency and reliability while significantly improving the food safety of our products.”