E+V, the company that supplied the cattle grading machines in use on the island of Ireland has been sold to the Marel group. The machines were installed in 22 factories across the Republic of Ireland in 2004, followed by a further seven machines in Northern Ireland’s factories in 2011. The machines classify cattle to the EUROP grid, under supervision by DAFM, but do not provide a lamb classification service. 

E+V was established by Axel Hinz and Horst Eger in 1992 and produced grading equipment for use across beef, sheep, pig and poultry meat, and is headquartered in Oranienburg, Germany. The VBS 200 grading machine replaced a manual classification service, which was supplied by DAFM in Irish abattoirs in 2004. It was updated to incorporate led lighting and digital camera technology – following trials in 2018 and 2019, it was finally rolled out across Irish factories in late 2021.

A similar trialling process is currently underway in the UK, where the original analogue specification machines are still in operation.

What is Marel?

Marel, which was established in 1983, began as a provider of on-boarding weighing equipment for the Icelandic fishing industry. Since then it has expanded, mainly through acquisition of speciality machine suppliers to the food industry. It is now a leading provider of food factory machinery and equipment across meat, fish and other food processing industries in 140 countries, with 8,000 employees.

In the first nine months of 2023, revenue for the business was €1.273bn, up on the €1.219bn for the same period last year. Aftermarket, or recurring, revenues are a key part of the Marel business, with recurring services and spare parts delivering revenue of €196.2m in the third quarter of 2023.

In its comment on the results, Marel said that “aftermarket growth reflects Marel’s strong market position and reputation as a trusted maintenance partner, and underpins Marel’s commitment to investments in automating and digitizing the spare parts delivery model and shortening lead times”.

This feature of Marel’s business model will be welcome news to the factories in which the grading machines operate, as spare parts and technical support are essential to keep the equipment and, in turn, the factory operational.