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Frenching lamb racks


The removal of the lamb rib intercostal or inter-rib tissue is the process known as French Racking.  This process adds value to the rib cut, one of the most valuable of the lamb portions, and is a very time consuming and labour intensive task requiring several operators. One solution for this task is the use of a high pressure water jet, or water Frenching, however the availability and cost of disposal of water in regional Australia is an important barrier to adoption.


Various other Frenching solutions have been investigated.  

  • Project P.PSH.0304 looked at the problem of sensing the lamb ribs with a noval approach with an array of needles.  The intercostal removal or Frenching could then be performed utilising a robot.  This approach did not prove to be cost effective.
  • Under project P.PSH.0518, five different waterless mechanical Frenching options were investigated.
  • Under project A.AMP.1432 (AMPC managed project 2015-5013), AMPC and MLA reviewed current developments and future R & D opportunities for Lamb French Racking.

More recently, the project P.PIP.0320 evaluated the McLaren iFrenching system for lamb racks. The prototype machine was developed in New Zealand and was been installed commercially in an Australian lamb processing plant.

Initial trials carried out in New Zealand determined the required modifications of the prototype to be made (based on product specifications supplied to equipment manufacturers) and verified in a pilot NZ trial before the adapted unit was shipped to Australia for commercial evaluation.

This machine was then evaluated in a full-scale commercial trial for:

  • Suitability for processing the variation of Australian lamb product;
  • Chilled shelf life, yield and quality of water-frenched racks compared with those that were hand-frenched.

The CBA evaluated the commercially viability of the new equipment, cutting precision, ability to remove meat from the bone and sharpness of cutting.


While needle sensing was not viable, other mechanical Frenching options may be viable, and these may be the subject of further R&D in future.




Title Size Date published
1.7MB 02/03/2015
1.6MB 02/03/2015
168.6KB 01/02/2010
12.1MB 01/01/2010
455.4KB 19/06/2019


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
AMPC Managed Off-Farm Productivity projects
01/07/2013 30/06/2015
Frenched Lamb Racks
17/03/2010 13/05/2015
JBS Commercial evaluation and viability of lamb frenching using the prototype McLaren iFrench water racking technology.
01/04/2012 15/04/2015
Proof of concept to process Frenched Lamb Racks by dry ice blasting.
16/08/2007 02/03/2010
Waterless French Rack Processing Feasibility
15/07/2009 25/03/2010
Fat Cap Machine upgrade for Australian Lamb and Validation trial
15/04/2017 01/11/2018

This page was last updated on 19/06/2019