Optimizing Space for Marlow Foods’ Manufacturing Processes

We have switched the process of manufacturing Quorn from the horizontal to the vertical to future proof Marlow Foods’ new Belasis site in County Durham.

“It’s been a pleasure for me to work with Marlow Foods again on this latest phase of work – the third we’ve worked on together. Twelve years ago, I was the project manager on our first project with the client and we’ve kept in touch ever since.

“It's also been great to be involved with this project and collaborate with WSP colleagues and the subcontractors, who are all working together to help realize Marlow Foods’ vision. We have not only increased the production of Quorn to meet growing demand, but have also made this possible at one facility, bringing together all the stages of production that have, until now, been at geographically separate sites.”

Brian Parker
Senior Project Manager

We have saved space at the Marlow Foods’ site so that new facilities can be added later for extra production of the sustainable, low-fat protein Quorn. At the same time, we have designed and built – in collaboration with other specialists – a high-specification water treatment plant to remove waste and chemicals, including phosphorous and nitrogen, produced in the fermentation process.

The new production facility will enable Marlow Foods to increase the supply of Quorn across the UK, Europe and North America to meet demand.

The new three-storey factory at the County Durham site is a departure from the usual single-storey, linear production process. Bespoke equipment had been sourced from different suppliers and had to be integrated into a successful end-to-end process.

Cubic metREs per hour of effluent treated to exceed environmental standards
50 m³
People on the site from many different suppliers, performing complex tasks

Our engineers accompanied the client on visits to suppliers to see how different items would affect the building services. This was time well spent, as it helped streamline the design process, ensuring each piece of equipment was factored in individually along with its electricity and water supply requirements.

Cooperation between our team, client, engineers, contractors, suppliers and scientists was a constant positive. Marlow Foods’ personnel shared their knowledge of the production process, which made it easier for us to cater for the specialist equipment and staff at the facility. Together, we could make sure that the layout and design would help them do their jobs more efficiently.

The building was completed on time, and production began in 2018.

00:00 - 00:00

Excellent Safety Record

With around 150 people constructing a large, complex building consisting of lots of different sections, the atmosphere of collaboration was very positive. As a result, everyone was clear about what was expected, and everyone stayed safe.

Collaborative Improvements

All manufacturing equipment in the process has to be carefully cleaned, and because the Quorn production process is unique, standard cleaning regimes are not always suitable. With input from Marlow Foods’ staff, we were able to automate some processes and configure the layout to make cleaning easier, safer and more efficient.

The design for the full-scale plan was modelled in 3D so the client could walk around it virtually. This helped the team to find the ideal layout for the pipework and to balance efficient use of the site with ease of access for operations and maintenance.