Poultry processors today face many challenges, many of which are increasing due to the pandemic. One is a sharp drop in the number of workers available to do frontline work, and another involves understanding and maintaining newer and more sophisticated automated technology that is being put in place to help solve the former. challenge.
“Labor availability is an ongoing dilemma for poultry processors around the world,” said Roy Driessen, Marel’s marketing director for poultry. “It is becoming a disruptive force in the industry, threatening both continuity and efficiency. It is a challenge to have all the shifts occupied by qualified people all operating at the same high standard. “
Automation can be the answer to reducing labor dependency, but it is not always within the reach of all processors. Some recognize the big picture and the benefits of automation, but find it difficult to apply it in their facilities.
“With the demand for poultry meat on the rise around the world and the labor shortage being an ongoing challenge for many years in the poultry processing industry, time is too precious for processors to wait. external solutions providing the answer, ”said Aize Land, Sales Director at Meyn Food Processing Technology, based in the Netherlands. “It’s time to find the answer to the challenges from within.
Other difficult operational issues in the industry are achieving the highest possible levels of throughput, quality and processing efficiency at all times.
“Retailers and quick service restaurants are increasingly insisting that their suppliers offer full traceability,” said Driessen. “Those who cannot provide this risk risk losing valuable business. “
New and improved
Alex Pangilinan, marketer for Baader Poultry USA, based in Kansas City, Kansas, noted that the company offers a solution to turn boning waste into ground poultry profits.
“Pads and triangle fillings previously discarded from the boning process can be part of our customers’ overall boning performance, allowing processors to improve their bottom line and bottom line,” he said.
Baader offers two solutions for the automatic boning of meat blanks. Pangilinan noted that the BA656 is ideal for processing front halves with attached wings at 65 birds per minute, while the new BA661 is ideal for large bird processors as a direct replacement for the standard double-sided manual boning lines of the industry.
“The machine saves skilled labor by automating complex cutting and notching processes before manually harvesting fillets and tenderloins,” he said. “This process uses the full potential of man and machine, allowing our customers to maintain control over the quality and performance of the end product. “
As a supplier of a full line, from catching live birds to shipping, Marel, based in Lenexa, Kansas, continually works to update all aspects of the process.
“The Marel Atlas modular live bird handling system builds on decades of relevant experience,” said Driessen. “Its self-interlocking SmartStack modules create a first-class environment for the birds on their journey to the processing plant. Using the pallet as an additional level increases load capacity by up to 38%, reducing the number of trips required, saving fuel and reducing the very large carbon footprint. SmartStack modules are also easier to clean.
Marel also continues to develop its cutting and boning systems. Examples are the Modular Thigh Net System and Q-Wing. The thigh tenderloin system installed in an ACM-NT automatic cutting line is capable of deboning up to 240 thighs per minute to yield and quality standards that were previously only possible with skilled manual labor. Meanwhile, Q-Wing uses IRIS vision technology to automatically classify individual wing components into separate streams of “A” grade and derating products, saving labor and increasing performance. overall efficiency of the wing packaging.
Foodmate US’s latest offering includes the OPTiX Thigh Deboner with the auto-load option.
“The new automatic leg transfer system has been a much requested module,” said Adam McCoy, national accounts manager for the company based in Ball Ground, Georgia. “We are happy to see the development of this new technology. It provides the perfect combination of equipment, solving two problems simultaneously. It adds the ability to distribute entire legs, by size or number of pieces, via a leg conveyor, and reduces labor by automatically loading the machine.
A Pennsylvania-based factory using the OPTiX said it helped the company reduce overtime on weeknights and weekends and helped streamline production.
Foodmate also offers the new MAX 2.0 Breast Boner, which can switch from butterflies to single fillets, and allows customers to reduce staff, improve throughput and have a more reliable boneless product.
Meyn’s most iconic processing solutions are the High Speed Inline Organ Harvester, the Meyn Maestro Plus and the Meyn Rapid Plus M4.2 Breast Boner.
Where automation kicks in, the need for manpower disappears, Land noted.
“Take for example our breast deboning system. In the manual process, a worker usually places the front half on a cone, ”he said. “If the worker is skilled, motivated and not too tired, the job can be done with high precision and efficiency. If one of these conditions is not met, the quality and quantity of the output will be much lower.
Meyn launched the Maestro Plus for fully automated high-speed online organ harvesting at IPPE 2020. Record-breaking performance of Maestro evisceration technology combined with new organ harvesting modules provide minimal waste , maximum profit and its compact design provides more flexibility in plant layout.
“This year we launched our Meyn Wing Cutter HY Pro self-adjusting for grills of varying shape and size in one setting,” Land said. “Our Meyn Connect software solution is constantly being optimized to stay in tune with recent market demands. “
Understandably, the learning curve is steep as companies bring smarter technology into factories and equipment manufacturers strive to make sure their customers can do the job.
“With a higher level of technology than many of our customers have, our Asset Integrity Program (AIP) provides advanced training to keep our system running at peak performance and it has been such a valuable resource for our customers. customers, ”said Howard Saul, national account manager for Foodmate US. “Our customers have relied on us to varying degrees of assistance; some rely on us for quarterly CAM visits, some monthly visits, and then others for subsequent planned reconstructions.
Good management also requires good information.
“The Marel Innova software platform not only efficiently allocates available products to inbound orders, but also provides up-to-the-minute information on all aspects of the process, which it displays on centrally located easy-to-read dashboards. Driessen mentioned. “Managers can immediately see if there is a problem and exactly where the problem is. Its remedy can then follow quickly with minimal negative consequences for uptime and for plant results.
And after a few months, most processors can fend for themselves to operate the equipment and reap the benefits.