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Beef scriber/rib cutter robotic system
Subsequent to carcase dressing, splitting, and chilling, beef sides are prepared for the boning room with scribing cuts and rib cuts. This is a skilled manual task and features the use of a hazardous circular cutting saw. Considerable value is added with the rib cutting task ensuring this product is efficiently utilising the carcase and meeting downstream customer specifications. The benefits to the supply chain of an automated solution are process reliability with optimised utilisation and hence value of the carcase, workplace safety, and a contribution to labour supply sustainability.
Early R&D projects (PRTEC.010 and 019) provided preliminary information regarding the technical feasibility of automated scribing.
The P.PIP.0116 and P.PSH.0508 semi-automated project initiatives commenced with investigations into appropriate sensing approaches, leading to an initial semi-automated proof of concept whereby an operator identified appropriate cutting lines to the robot via a teach pendant. Subsequently, advances in x-ray sensing, laser profile scanning, machine colour image processing, facilitated a fully automated approach. The work to advance sensing also unexpectedly revealed the potential for sensitive and objective carcase measurements to be made, thereby providing producers and the extended supply chain with valuable data anticipated to be used to validate livestock value, assist to realise genetic gains, and optimise the market allocation of the valuable beef primal products.
An ex ante value proposition for automated beef scribing was completed under project P.PSH.0579.
The semi-automated approach involved an installation at Northern Cooperative Meat Company (NCMC) at Casino NSW. This was not successful owing to technical, throughput and other factors and has been discontinued.
A successor, fully automated x-ray based system is currently under development with a processor partner, with stage 1 evaluation of cutting with machine vision completed (project P.PIP.0261), and further work underway to develop and evaluate x-ray guided cutting lines in a production environment (P.PIP.0288, PSH.0620, PSH.0633). Final reporting is anticipated in 2016, after these projects are completed.
This page was last updated on 28/12/2017
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