Sunday, February 5, 2023

Grading system improves quality and margins

The combination of intense competition in the meat industry, rising input costs and increasingly stringent retailer and consumer quality requirements means pig processors need to maximise the yield from every carcase.

According to food and drink IT specialist CSB-System, this has resulted in strong demand for its Image-Meater® industrial vision device, which automates pig carcase grading. The company says the system delivers an objective result which can be used to accurately calculate the market value.

Offering a grading speed of up to 1,300 pig carcases per hour, the CSB Image-Meater® uses proprietary software to identify and measure key muscle and fat cross sections from a photographic image and calculate the grading results according to a verified formula. Image-Meater® displays and records the SEUROP grade, lean meat percentage (LMP) of the carcase – and the weight, percentage and LMP of key primals within the carcase.

As well as providing an accurate assessment of the grade and market value of carcases at the abattoir, the Image-Meater® can also be used downstream for sorting carcases to optimise yields. According to CSB, this has delivered gains of around two Euros per pig.

“In competitive markets, maximising yields while maintaining quality is vital,” said Mathew Simpson of CSB-System. “Image-Meater’s software driven solution delivers highly consistent results, as the error prone job of accurate probe placement is eliminated – along with the risk of repetitive strain injuries. And manual data recording can be removed so the results are more reliable as well as more accurate.”

All of the information from the classification process is automatically archived and can be reproduced in customisable reports. This includes the photograph, lean meat content, grade, date, grader code, slaughter line number and date of slaughter. This gives both farmer and processor end-to-end traceability and transparency.

The Image-Meater’s compact dimensions mean it can easily be integrated into most slaughter lines. It’s non-invasive measurement process ensures maximum hygiene, and the low-maintenance system means near-zero downtime. CSB says return on investment for carcase sorting and cutting optimisation projects can be less than one year.

The Image-Meater® has been installed in factories across Europe and beyond, including Belgium, China, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

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