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Production and market validation of shaped beef products using the SmartShape machine

The current project proposed to modify existing Meat Stretcher prototype equipment to meet the beef processor's immediate customer needs for various shaped beef products, including Rostbiffs and topsides. Indirectly, this will enable MLA to showcase the application of shaping smaller diameter portions that previously considered by MLA.  The outcome of the project was a detailed report containing:

  • Product specifications and equipment drawings of all required modifications to the meat shaping prototype machine.
  • Process optimisation steps (pre- and post-shaping) including mechanical tenderisation, additives including commercial meat tenderisation enzymes and/or salt/phosphate ingredients as appropriate to meet market / customer needs; and
  • Detailed specifications including drawings of modified SmartShape equipment.

    The prototype equipment in the earlier configuration has been validated through a series of pre-production trials to be inefficient and ineffective for a single operator to produce a commercial and viable target of two pieces per minute.  Therefore components that were required to be modified included:

  • Increase production rates – the new SmartShape prototype that will allow faster and more efficient evacuation of air and therefore expel the product at a more viable commercial rate with a proposed target of minimum of 3 pieces per minute.
  • Increase flexibility to process products within a limited tolerance – a quick snaplock design has been proposed to allow for immediate changeover to up to four different ring sizes.   
  • Adjustable ring sizes are proposed to overcome the current issue of variable package firmness and therefore impact on the consistency of product shape. 

    The results from these trials suggest the SmartShape technology delivers a consistently shaped portion and therefore a better portion controlled product.  Primals with many muscle groups and different muscle fibre directions are generally not suitable for SmartShaping and therefore the technology may be limited to a few select products.   It was noted however that whilst a project objective, by optimising pre-shaping processing options it unfortunately did not result in discernible meat tenderisation.  Further trials using commercial volumes would validate the data presented in this report. It is recommended to speed up throughput of product with new chamber performance to facilitate faster cycle times.


Title Size Date published
1.9MB 05/11/2015


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Production and market validation of shaped beef products using the SmartShape machine(Stanbroke Beef)
15/07/2014 27/08/2015

This page was last updated on 19/09/2018