Beef boning robot could reduce costs for red meat processors
Australia’s red meat industry is set to benefit from the establishment of what is claimed to be the world’s first beef boning automation research and development room, as the industry looks to reduce processing costs and increase boning room yield efficiency.
MLA Donor Company (MDC) will invest up to $32.4 million over five years to enable Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) in collaboration with beef processor Teys Australia, and solution providers, to develop beef boning automation technology.
Leveraging on MLA’s lamb boning automation, known as LEAP, the move towards beef boning automation will see the R&D room developed.
The beef boning automation will be known as Leap4Beef and will be enabled by CT and DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) objective carcase measurement technology. The beef boning automation R&D room will be established at Teys Australia’s facility in Rockhampton, Queensland.
MLA Managing Director Jason Strong said with Australia reportedly having one of the world’s most expensive processing sectors, automating beef boning would reduce per head operating costs for the benefit of the entire Australian industry.
“Maximising the value of carcases through accurate cutting along with the increase in productivity through continuous flow in the boning room is vital to the sustainability of the Australian red meat industry,” Strong said.
“Beyond movement in livestock prices, the single biggest impact on processing efficiency is the accurate segmentation and deboning of carcases into the highest primal value possible. It’s where the most significant improvements in processing industry efficiency can be made.
“Beef boning automation has been estimated to deliver at least a $30 per head benefit, with an estimated 40% of this benefit to return to producers.
“We are seeing the benefits of lamb boning automation in Australian processing plants, with carcase values increasing by more than $6/head. More than 40% of large processing throughput now uses the technology, and pending installations will raise this to 71% of throughput.”
Strong said MLA had undertaken industry consultation with more than 20 processors on beef boning automation, and will continue to work with other Australian processors and hold regular updates. Adding that as well as productivity benefits, boning automation can also lead to improvements in workplace health and safety.
Teys Australia welcomed the investment by MLA in the development of automation solutions for beef boning and looks forward to getting to work to deliver viable solutions.
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