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Sheep hock tip cutting/neck sanitising automation


Hock tipping and neck tipping are important tasks in the lamb slaughter and dressing line, and assist in ensuring the carcase is clean by removing product that may have come in contact with pelt cutting knives. The task is arduous and repetitive, and can influence the carcase yield.  

Robotic automation of these tasks supports labour sustainability, and can also increase product yield through precise and consistent cutting lines.


MLA co-funded two related projects (P.PSH.0480 and P.PIP.0317) with a large processor (Peel Valley Exporters) to develop and trial a robotic system for neck tipping, hock cutting and hock tipping. MAR also developed an alternative neck sanitise step thereby allowing the neck meat to be retained.  


Since this system was first trialled in production in 2011, numerous technical challenges were addressed, necessiting considerable downtime.

Furthermore, since this time PVE have steadily increased the speed of the chain to over 10 carcasses per minute.  As a result the hock tipper struggled to keep up with the line. MAR conducted several visits to PVE in an attempt to speed the cycle up further by making hydraulic modifications to the tool in an attempt to increase the speed of the cutting action.  These modifications however did not increase the speed adequately to allow to the hock tipper to keep pace with the line when the line was run at higher speeds.  This combined with the fact that PVE needed more space on the floor for other equipment led to the hock tipping robot being removed from production in the 2nd quarter of 2013.

No further development of this system is currently planned.


Title Size Date published
341.6KB 01/09/2013
386.9KB 03/11/2016
998.2KB 25/09/2017
721.8KB 01/12/2011


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
MAR 9631Q1 - PVE Robotic Hock Tip & Neck Sanitising System Re-Commission
01/07/2012 28/05/2013

This page was last updated on 28/12/2017

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