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Frontmatec - Investigate the development of an automated chine bone cutting solution for Australian cattle boning lines

Project start date: 15 September 2017
Project end date: 01 July 2018
Publication date: 02 July 2018
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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The Meat Industry Strategy Plan 2020 has identified that the automation technologies and objective measurement will be the primary avenue to increasing efficiency and minimizing costs to Australian red meat supply chain. In that connection MLA recognized the precise vision-controlled automatic robotic Chine Bone sawing of pig spines from Frontmatec in a Danish pig-deboning department. The process saves 8 manpower and performs an accuracy which will lift the yield significantly. Furthermore, it will reduce the number of OH&S risks.

As basis for the chine bone cutting of cattle, a study is made of how cattle carcasses are deboned in different countries. Different Frontmatec employees around the world collected videos and wrote methods, how the deboning of cattle is performed. It identifies how the cutting up of the carcasses is performed and where in the world sawing off the cattle chine bone is performed.

To investigate if the known software for controlling the chine bone sawing of pig middles is able to control the chine bone sawing of cattle middles, a temporary camera system is established and a row of scans is made in a Danish cattle slaughterhouse.

It identifies what challenges to overcome at the practical scanning process and how similar and different the scans are, compared with the known scans from pig middles.

An analysis of the scans and how the known software reacts is made, showing that the known software can form a significant basis for a further developed software, able to control a saw along an optimized path through beef middles and saw off the chine bone.

The information from the different steps in the project is collected and together with the experience collected in connection with a well-running robot cell cutting chine bones from pigs, a draft concept for a cattle chine bone cutting cell set-up is drawn up.

Next steps for the development of an automatic process for cutting cattle chine bones are suggested in the Conclusion and Recommendations sections.

With the conducted project, a significant step was taken towards the development of an automated process for cutting off cattle chine bones.

More information

Project manager: Darryl Heidke
Primary researcher: Frontmatec