Report Detail Page

SmartStim (Gen Two) stimulation systems for processors

Background

Improving the consistency of eating quality of Australian beef and lamb is one of MLA's strategic objectives.  A significant source of variation in eating quality results from factors within the processing sector providing the opportunity to develop technology interventions to increase the eating quality of red meat.  For optimum eating quality, muscles should enter rigor mortis (pH6) at a temperature range of around 180C.  Outside this range muscle contraction occurs and is detrimental to eating quality.  For example, muscle begins to heat toughen when temperature exceeds 350C at pH6 and begin to cold shorten when less than 120C at pH6.

Generation 1 (Gen 1) stimulators deliver a fixed dose of stimulation for a fixed period but carcases have variation in pH decline and require different amounts of stimulation. Generation 2 stimulation (Gen 2 or SmartStim) was developed to apply a variable stimulation based on carcase response to an electrical test pulse.  In theory this tailored stimulation could bring all carcase pH declines through a tighter pH/temperature decline curve, reducing variability resulting in improve meat quality.  Furthermore, the test pulse could potentially estimate post chilling carcase grading outcomes, enabling a range of early management interventions pre-chilling.

In addition there was a belief that Smart Stim would improve meat colour at grading.

Research & facilitated adoption

SmartStim was developed by Carne Tech as the service provider, as part of the jointly funded MLA and Meat & Wool New Zealand MQST eating quality program.  Several iterations of the SmartStim technology were developed and trialled in both New Zealand and Australian processors.

Key elements of the electronics were developed by CPE Systems (previously Merit of Measurement), as a follow on project to the initial implementation of SmartStim, which was based on using a standard PC as the SmartStim controller.

SmartStim R&D was funded under projects P.PSH.0224,PSH.0269,P.PSH.0271,P.PSH.0321,P.PSH.0555 P.PSH.0386, P.PSH.0455, A.MQT.0064 and A.MQT.0062.

Evaluation & trials

A series of trials were undertaken in both Australia and New Zealand, including both sheep and beef plants.  These did not conclusively prove that Gen 2 (SmartStim) was consistently superior to Gen One systems as regards managing pH declines, or that meat colour would be improved. A comprehensive cost/benefit analysis (CBA) was undertaken  under project A.MQT.0050, on the assumption that the technical merits claimed for SmartStim were achievable.

However, the CBA concluded the following:

  • Even if there was a significant improvement in the meat quality factors the increase in value to processors is not significant.

  • Assuming the technology was used to optimise eating quality for the end consumer the value would not be realised by the processer at this point in time.
  • Assuming the technology was used to optimise short-term meat colour only beef processors would gain but at the exoense of downstream customers and end-users. Most processors are focused on consumer eating quality and longer term brand sustainability rather than on this sort of short term gain.

Any technology purported to generate short term gain at expense of consumer satisfaction should be treated with extreme caution.  

Adoption

Based on the above, MLA and MWNZ decided not to invest further funding into SmartStim technology.  However, Carne Tech is marketing a version of SmartStim to  processors as an alternative to existing Gen One systems.

Downloads

Title Size Date published
674.2KB 01/04/2010
1.1MB 01/12/2012
332.9KB 01/03/2012
1.1MB 01/04/2012
676.9KB 01/12/2006
212.6KB 01/09/2007
469.9KB 01/03/2008
479.6KB 01/12/2008
2.1MB 01/01/2009
1.2MB 01/12/2008
1.1MB 01/09/2012
199.5KB 01/01/2009

Contracts

Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
A.MQT.0049
Project management / commercial validation of SmartStim
15/04/2010 31/08/2012
Industry
A.MQT.0050
Generation One and Generation Two (SmartStim) value proposition
23/09/2010 15/10/2012
Industry
A.MQT.0062
CMA: Carnetech – Naracoorte Smart Stim project
20/09/2011 28/10/2011
Industry CMA
A.MQT.0064
Document & protect SmartStim algorithm & software
16/02/2012 22/03/2012
Industry
P.PIP.0252
JBS12 - Assessment of Commercial Requirements for Smartstim in Sheepmeat Applications
15/02/2010 30/04/2011
MDC PIP
P.PIP.0299
TEY33 Assessment of Commercial Requirements for Smartstim in Beef meat Applications
01/07/2012 19/12/2012
MDC PIP
P.PSH.0321
Advanced Low Voltage Stimulation (ALVS) [PSHIP.125E]
23/11/2007 30/10/2008
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0341
Data Capture Project (Smart Stimulation)
20/03/2008 30/12/2008
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0386
Modular and wireless control system for SmartStim technology
01/07/2008 10/10/2009
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0455
Critical adoption and R&D activities for Joint MLA & MIRINZ Inc MQST program Yr 08/09 (Interim critical projects)
06/11/2008 20/01/2009
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0555
Pilot Commercialisation of the Wireless SmartStim System - Phase 2
01/03/2010 09/01/2012
MDC PSH
A.COM.0145
SmartStim install at Teys or SmartStim in a beef installation
15/11/2009 15/11/2009
Industry
P.PSH.0271
Development of electrode assemblies and electronics to facilitate in plant adoption of Smart Stimulation.
01/03/2007 28/02/2008
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0269
Advanced Low Voltage Stimulation (ALVS) quality [125D].
26/02/2007 08/11/2007
MDC PSH
P.PSH.0224
Advanced Low Voltage Stimulation (ALVS)
01/01/2006 30/09/2006
MDC PSH
A.PNT.0053
DNU - Advanced Low Voltage Stimulation
17/07/2006 04/09/2006
Commercial

This page was last updated on 06/07/2018

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