Further Automation to the Rescue!

Meat companies throughout the world are adding automation to their processing and packaging systems to meet growing meat demand, improve product consistency and yield, and to enhance meat safety. If you missed this year’s IFFA (international meeting point for the meat-processing industry), held May 15 to 20 in Frankfurt, Germany, you missed a golden opportunity to review the latest and most advanced in automated meat processing and packaging equipment and systems.
While reviewing many exhibits during the show, it was clear to see that technology suppliers recognize meat is a rapidly growing sector of international business. And although many countries still have a low per-capita consumption of meat compared to Germany and other industrialized nations, increasing economic development and associated increases in household income means meat will ultimately gain importance in the diet within such developing countries. Consider that meat consumption is predicted to increase in double-digit figures in various areas of the world including Asian countries (China 23 percent) as well as nations in Eastern Europe (Poland 26.8 percent, and Hungary 18.2 percent).
As meat consumption increases, more automated technology will be needed to help satisfy growing demand. Many IFFA exhibitors pointed out that the degree of automation in the meat industry is still low compared to other food-industry segments. But as a result, machinery manufacturers are placing a greater emphasis on increasing automation — including robotics —to reduce production costs while increasing throughput, yields, and most important of all…further enhancing food safety.
“The continuing globalization of the food industry is placing considerable demands in [further enhancing] hygiene and food safety,” said Manfred Rycken, president of the Deutcher Fleischer-Verband (German Butchers Federation), during this year’s IFFA.
Here is a selection (in alphabetical order by company name) of some exhibits featured at this year’s show.
New fat analyzer and slicer
A new in-line fat analyzer, the CFS MasterTrack, is fully integrated into the grinder. This revolutionary technology allows the fat and lean contents of a batch of meat to be specified during the size-reduction process — automatically. And the CFS MegaSlicer handles product lengths ranging from 1,200 mm to 1,850 mm; slice thicknesses from 0.1 mm to 100 mm; and portions it can handle include shingle, stack (maximum 100 mm), zigzag, shaved, folded, and pieces.
CFS North America Inc., phone (214) 618-1100 or (800) 388-2601, fax (214) 618-1301, e-mail salesusa@cfs.com, or visit www.cfs.com
Grinding and pumping systems
PrimeGrind™ 250 Multicut Grinder is for fresh and tempered products. The PrimeGrind™ 400 series grinder is for processing fresh or frozen material. Both can be equipped with a single or double-plate/knife set in addition to the pre-cutter plate. And both integrate seamlessly into any production line where grinding is required prior to further processing. The new Cozzini Air Pump (CAP) is ideal for whole-muscle meat and poultry applications and more. Available in various pump sizes, it can pump compressible solids up to 6 inches (152 mm) in diameter while preserving product integrity and increasing process yield.
Cozzini Group, phone (773) 478-9700, e-mail sales@cozzini.com, or visit www.cozzini.com
Food-forming system
The Formax® Maxum 700™ is a new food-forming system. To ensure maximum food safety and hygiene, the product hopper tilts at the touch of a button offering clear access to the conveyor, feed screws, and plungers. The conveyor assembly pivots with the product hopper, facilitating belt removal and thorough washdowns. The hopper pivot can be placed in the right or left side of the machine. The state-of-the-art servo system produces smooth mold-plate operation at speeds up to 120 strokes a minute and production rates up to 8,000 pounds an hour. The reduced number of drive components minimizes maintenance and ensures reliable operation.
Formax Inc., phone (708) 479-3500, fax (708) 479-3598, e-mail sales@formaxinc.com, or visit www.formaxinc.com
Natural-casing production, vacuum fillers
The new handtmann PVLH 226 allows natural-casing production on an industrial scale. Sausages with natural casings are linked using a flexible voiding technique. During this process, the PVLH 226 achieves extraordinary accuracy in terms of portion weight and length and ensures that sausages are stiffly filled. Portioning speed is up to 2,000 portions a minute —and up to 1,000 portions a minute for natural-casing product. handtmann’s VF 610 and 612 vacuum fillers were developed for various demands of small-scale operations. Filling capacity for both models, which can be continuously controlled, is 3,000 kg an hour.
handtmann Inc., phone (847) 808-1100 or (800) 477-3585, fax (847) 808-1106, e-mail info@handtmann.com, or visit www.handtmann.com
Automatic hog splitter and pneumatic stunner
Jarvis’ Model JCK-1 Automatic Hog Splitter splits precisely down the middle and can process a maximum of 650 hogs an hour. Perfectly split carcasses increase the number of bones being sent to a plant’s meat recovery system. The latest patented technology provides higher production rates, faster line operations, and featherbone cuts precisely down the middle. The Jarvis Model USSS-1 is a pneumatically operated, high-speed captive bolt stunner for cattle. The Jarvis Model USSS-2 is a pneumatically operated, high-speed, non-penetrating stunner for cattle and veal.
Jarvis Products Corp., phone (860) 347-7271, fax (860) 347-9905, or e-mail jarvis.products.corp.@snet.net
Shrink-pack packaging system
Multivac and Krehalon jointly developed the Form Shrink shrink-pack packaging system. The resulting pack fits like a second skin with no excess film. Each product receives a pack customized for it — regardless of size or shape. A tear tag allows for easy opening. The controlled sealing process provides a considerably higher seal strength. The R 550 and R 250 thermoforming machines are rollstock machines that were developed for the Form Shrink process with all the standards and advantages of Multivac’s thermoforming technology.
Krehalon Industries B.V., phone +31 570 624 333, fax +31 570 505 335, e-mail sales@krehalon.nl, or visit www.krehalon.nl
Portion stacker, industrial controller, and flattener
The new Marel Portion Stacker is designed to stack portions into trays or feed them straight into a packing machine. It handles 2.5 portions per second, and can stack any number of portions into a tray. The new M6000 industrial controller is designed for areas requiring a robust, easy-to-use terminal. Built on a PC-compatible architecture, they are encased in a water-resistant stainless steel housing and operated by touch screen. Suitable for boneless, non-frozen pork, beef, and poultry, the Marel Platino 800 uses unique technology to flatten meat products up to four times their original size.
E-mail siggi@marel.is on the portion stacker, jonv@marel.is on the industrial controller, and runar@marel.is on the Platino flattener.
Vacuum stuffer
Marlen introduces its Combovac Vacuumizing Stuffer. Features include a patented Marlen sheeting valve; rear auger seal; easy access for cleaning; auger removal arm makes auger easy to remove, and supports auger during sanitation; and the stuffing pump is front-mounted for easy access, hinged for sanitation, and made of stainless steel. The combination 2,500-pound loading and 500-pound vacuum hopper requires less floor space, no suction pipe, and feature a simplified sanitation procedure. Built-in hydraulic drive has a self-contained hydraulic power unit insulated in the cabinet, single control valve for easy service, and air-cooled, stainless steel reservoir.
Marlen Research Corp., phone (913) 888-3333, fax (913) 888-6440, or visit www.marlen.com
Range of injectors
MEPSCO’s ULTRA Series 244 and 488 meat injectors are designed for large bone-in and boneless meats such as whole hams and picnics, loins, pork bellies, and other ham and beef products. These injectors provide maximum yields on impact-resistant, extra-wide 30.5-inch conveyor belts with production rates up to 30,000 pounds an hour. The ULTRA 140 and 280 injectors are designed to handle the pre-mentioned products plus marinating whole turkeys and chickens, cut-up poultry parts, fresh steaks and pork, and seafood. These injectors provide maximum yields on impact-resistant, 18-inch wide conveyor belts. Production rates are up to 12,000 pounds an hour.
MEPSCO Inc., phone (630) 231-4130, fax (630) 231-9372, e-mail info@mepsco.com, or visitwww.mepsco.com
Traysealer for the times
Like all other Multivac machines, the new Traysealer T 350 complies with the EU hygiene directive for food processing machines. It can package fresh or processed meat, game, poultry, cheese, ready meals and meal components, and more. The basic version is equipped with continuous infeed conveyor, tray transfer system, and selling die with an integrated cutting unit. It is designed on a modular basis and can be extended (e.g., tray destacking unit, special tray infeed conveyor, etc).
Multivac Inc., phone (816) 891-0555 or (800) 800-8552, fax (816) 891-0622, e-mail bkoch@multivac.com, or visit www.multivac.com
Automatic clippers and labeling system
The ICA 8700 Automatic Double-Clipper is for medium-sized to large-diameter products up to a caliber of 2000 mm. Fibrous, collagen, and plastic casings can be processed. The FCA 3463 Automatic Double-Clipper closes all plastic, fibrous, and collagen casings of calibers ranging from 40 to 120 mm and larger in the case of some special applications. The FCA 3430 Automatic Double-Clipper closes all fibrous and collagen casings from calibers of 24 to 65 mm and plastic casings up to 90 mm. The FCA 3410-18 closes all plastic, fibrous, and collagen casings. The caliber range is from 24 to 90 mm, and to 120 mm for plastic casings. The ES 5000 Labeling System can be used with an FS double-clipping machine for all products (i.e., all calibers, types of casings or plastic film).
Poly-Clip System Corp., phone (847) 949-2800 or (800) USA-CLIP, fax (847) 949-2815, e-mail contact@polyclip-usa.com, or visit www.polyclip.com
New-generation packaging machine
The Repak RE 20 represents a new generation of form, fill, seal packaging machines. Features include high-quality stainless steel construction, IP 65 rating, designed for washdown, two four-point lifting stations, superior sealing system, Omron SYS drive, Omron touch-screen control system, self diagnostic system for fault finding, easy access for cleaning and maintenance, and CE certified. Options include discharge conveyor, photocell registration, gas flushing, bottom evacuation system, zigzag crosscut for easy-open packaging, code daters, and hanger-hole system.
Repak, phone +31 (0) 591 668010, fax +31 (0) 591 676076, e-mail info@repak.nl, or visit www.repak.nl
Boneless meat tenderizer and slicer
The Ross Model TC700Wboneless tenderizer was designed for beef, poultry, pork, lamb, veal, and seafood. Stainless-steel blades produce a minimum of 32 incisions per square inch in boneless meat products to sever sinew, connective tissue, and muscle fiber. Maximum product height is 5 inches (100 strokes a minute) and 7 inches (80 strokes a minute). The Ross Model 970-10 Slicer can slice bone-in pork or boneless meat products, when tempered or crust chilled. Products are positioned in vertical stationary chutes, designed with an air-assisted weight allowing for easier loading. Thickness indicator allows processors to maximize slice yields.
Ross Industries Processing Division, phone (540) 825-2120, fax (540) 825-5167, e-mail sales@rossindinc.com, or visit www.rossindinc.com
Manufacturing execution system
Scanvaegt relays that its ScanPlant™ system can be seen as the “missing link” between the overall ERP system and the plant-floor data collection system. ScanPlant™ was designed to provide meat-processing companies with reliable, real-time, and accurate data on the plant floor. Modules include packing and labeling, performance analyzer, performance monitor, track and trace, food safety, order execution, stock management, data collections, hardware controls and management, recipe control, and a reporting module.
Scanvaegt US Inc., phone (770) 536-3495 or (866) 365-0724, fax (770) 536-9578, e-mail sales@scanvaegt, or visit www.scanvaegt.com
Low-pressure forming machine
The Stork Titan RevoFormer is an advanced low-pressure forming machine that combines high capacity, exceptionally high product quality, and low cost of ownership. With the RevoFormer, products retain their typical shape and weight and, consequently, there is little non-conformity. The RevoFormer uses air to release products from the mold. This offers benefits in terms of bacteriological quality. The use of air also benefits product quality during battering and packing, and it reduces the amount of dirt and soiling in and around the machine.
Stork Titan B.V., phone (31) 485-586-122, fax (31) 485-586-655, e-mail info@storktitan.com, or visit www.storktitan.com
Wing parts deboner
Systemate Numafa’s latest development for the poultry industry is its new wing parts deboner. When the whole wing is loaded into the machine, it debones the prime wing part resulting in a ‘tulip’-shaped snack. The mid wing is processed in a way that the meat and bones are on separate sides. Top capacity is approximately 2,000 wings an hour, thus yielding 4,000 deboned parts an hour. The wing is unloaded automatically, and the machine copes with different sizes of wings.
Systemate Numafa North America, phone (770) 345-1055 or (800) 240-3770, fax (770) 345-5926, e-mail scott@numafa.com, or visit www.numafa.com
Automatic loading system
At the high throughout rate of the automatic Townsend 780 automatic loading system for deep-drawing packages and cans, sausages in peelable casings, collagen casings, salami, and more, are all graded with extreme care and end up with a remarkably low breakage level. When operating as a can-filling system, sausages are pushed into the cans that arrive from the side. The BA 780 is easy to operate and is available with one or two tracks. A maximum of two operators master the control and occasional corrections of product supply, grading, and loading.
Townsend Engineering Co., phone (800) 247-8609 or (515) 265-8181, fax (515) 263-3355, e-mail Info@TownsendEng.com, or visit www.TownsendEng.com
Dicing and cutting machines
Treif’s Twister 120 dicing and strip-cutting machine can reach an hourly capacity of up to 2,200 kg (for 34 mm cubes) even when operating continuously. The spacious cutting chamber can accommodate high-volume products, eliminating the time-consuming task of cutting to size. The system is designed for cutting boneless and bone-in products, whether fresh, cooked or smoked, into slices of exact weight required. The Slicer Divider 800 slices up to 3,200 slices a minute, the Slicer Divider 600 cuts up to 2,400 slices a minute, and the Slicer Divider 400 has a cutting capacity of up to 1,600 slices a minute (in four rows).
Treif USA Inc., phone (203) 929-9930, fax (203) 929-9949, or e-mail info-usa@treif.com
Vacuum packing fresh meat
The new ULMA Optima Skin thermoforming machine is for vacuum packing fresh meat, processed meat, fish, cheese, ready meals, and more on a rigid base. The skin technology consists of attaching two plastic materials. As a result, the cover film is sealed to the tray in the area where there is no product, thus enhancing product presentation. The flexible part of the pack is adapted to the product’s form as a second skin.
ULMA Packaging Systems Inc., phone (770) 345-5300, fax (770) 345-5322. E-mail ulmapack@aol.com, or visit www.ulmapackaging.ocm
New filler and forming machines
The VEMAG Robot HP25E is a powerful solution to all filling tasks, which depend on high throughput and a high torque. VEMAG double screws are used as the pumping element. With the VEMAG Duo-Drive, a new principle of separate drives for the pumping element and feed is being applied for the first time. The VEMAG portioning computer with graphic control was developed to optimize user guidance by graphics. The VEMAG forming machine 250 allows any shape of product to be formed using easy-change forming nozzles. Extremely gentle pumping prevents meat fiber damage.
Reiser, e-mail sales@reiser.com or vemag@reiser.com, or visit www.reiser.com