The lamb mid-section or barrel includes the most valuable cuts and some of the least valuable cuts. Significant value can be created by more precisely separating the various cuts; rib rack, flap, loin.
This is one of several initatives in developing semi-automated solutions, whereby products are presented to the machine by hand for automated cutting, which provides for lower capital cost equipment. These options were compared under a chining comparison CBA project (A.TEC.0104).
The benefits to the supply chain include; increased value through more precise cutting, contribution to labour sustainability, and improved workplace safety by distancing the operator from the cutting hazard. Dustless blade cutting also reduces waste cutting dust, and cleaner cutting surfaces which improves shelf life and improved retail presentation.
The starting point of project P.PSH.0361 was a production prototype machine, developed by ATTEC in Denmark. The machine was further modified, primarily by adapting the machine to cut rack barrels. Features were added for automatic adjustment to wide size ranges of lamb barrels.
Under project P.PIP.0329, Junee Abattoir agreed to part fund the development by ATTEC and BMC (Koorosh Khodabandehloo) of a lamb barrel breakup machine that will cut flaps from whole rack and loin barrel, separate the rack and loin, then also split and chine the rack barrel.
The P.PIP.0329 trials with the prototype machine, after iterative modifications and tuning to breakup of lamb whole barrel from carcasses 14 Kg to 32 Kg at Junee, revealed a potential benefit of over AU$ 2.50 per lamb and eliminated a minimum of 6 band-saw actions per rack and 4 knife operations.
Project P.PIP.0451 evaluated and tested this machine in the Fletcher plant production operations, so as to prove its use for the range of products and cut variations being performed on band-saws and other chine machines. It included some changes to the machine operation (featherbone etc) as compared to the previous trials under P.PIP.0329 at Junee Abattoirs.
It is expected that the ATTEC machine is now fully commercial after the completion of these projects.