A LEAP forward for lamb processing

28 August 2015

During the past 10 years, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), via the MLA Donor Company, has partnered with Scott Automation & Robotics and processors to develop the automated lamb cutting system, LEAP™. The system uses X-rays images to guide automated saws to precisely cut between specific bones.  This precision increases value by minimising waste, maximising the amount of higher value cuts and has a high throughput up to 10 carcases per minute.

There are two systems:

  • LEAPIII – lamb primal system: separates carcases into shoulder, middle and hindquarters. Increases carcase value by $1.30-$1.40/head.
  • LEAPIV – middle system: breaks the rack and loin barrel into various sub-primal components. Increases carcase value by $3.20-$4.20/head.

LEAPIII and LEAPIV are commercially available, currently operating in two Australian processors JBS and Australian Lamb Company,  and provide a payback in less than 12 months.

Dr Christine Pitt, General Manager Value Chain Innovation, MLA says “Innovations such as the LEAP system are critical in maintaining a viable Australian processing sector, with resulting benefits to producers and other industry stakeholders.  X-ray technology will also enable objective carcase measurement, providing eating quality characteristics and meat yield, with the aim of offering producers detailed information and feedback that underpins their business objectives.” 

As a project funded by the MLA Donor Company, no producer levies were used in the development of this technology. In partnership with MLA, Scott Automation & Robotics are in the early stages of developing a similar system for beef processing.

The MLA Donor Company (MDC) is a fully-owned subsidiary of Meat & Livestock Australia. The MDC facilitates voluntary investments in R&D innovations across the red meat supply chain. MLA producer levies are not invested in MDC projects.

For more information about how the MDC operates.

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