The all-new LineLink systems automatically transfer both product and data from the kill to the evisceration line (LineLink DE) and from the evisceration to the air chill line (LineLink EC) at hourly throughputs up to 15,000 broilers per hour (250 bpm).
This central provision of the Hippocratic oath applies not just to medical doctors but to automatic transfer systems too. Automatic transfer is by definition a process which cannot add value. Done poorly (dropped product, product hung by one leg and broken legs), it will have a negative impact on product quality and overall operating efficiency. Automatic transfer systems should do their job so supremely well and so reliably that they should be inconspicuous, only attracting attention by the lack of problems and unwelcome costs they don’t bring. LineLink transfers have been designed with this philosophy in mind.
Both LineLink DE and LineLink EC use a track-driven carrousel that is mounted in the well-known, easy to clean and easy to set Stork Reference Series frame. Carrousels hard couple the lines they join. Both these lines run at exactly the same number of shackles per minute, so that products are transferred on a one to one basis with no empty shackles being created downstream. At the transfer point, each product is always exactly opposite the shackle to which it is being transferred. This ensures that products are transferred correctly by both legs and are properly positioned for the next stage in the process.
Perfect synchronization is achieved by a combination of mechanical and electronic techniques. The system’s transfer timing is set mechanically and remains the same. Line speeds are synchronized electronically by the proven Stork ATC system. Active Tension Control uses dynamometers installed in front of and behind the transfer system to monitor forces across the system. These are kept within set limits by finetuning drive unit speed on the lines linked. ATC compensates automatically for differing chain stretch on the two lines, ensuring that both lines always run at exactly the same number of shackles per minute.
LineLink does not just transfer product. As the system is connected to Innova production control software, it also transfers any data collected on each individual product upstream. Beginning in the live bird dock, Marel Poultry offers systems, which allow more information to be gathered as product moves through the process. A flock switch in the live bird arrival department marks the beginning of a new flock; then SmartWeigher records weights while IRIS assesses quality, both of the whole carcass and the individual parts. LineLink and Innova work together to provide the reliable data transfer, needed to ensure the full traceability that is now in demand in poultry processing plants in many markets.
Smooth transfer of product and data, ultra-reliable performance at the very highest line speeds, equipment designed to be straightforward to clean and maintain – LineLink is the culmination of many years’ experience of transferring product automatically and is the vital link to a 15,000 bph (250 bpm) primary process.
LineLink DE is a 24 unit transfer system, which links the defeathering and evisceration lines. It includes an integral leg cutter, which cuts off legs at the tarsal joint. Blade settings can be adjusted easily during production to take account of varying flock weights. For those plants supplying “long leg” product, a foot cutter replaces the leg cutter. Feet remain in the shackle to be unloaded downstream.
Products are placed into the system’s units and are conveyed around the system’s carrousel to the transfer point where they are pushed positively into the evisceration shackle. Products are now perfectly positioned for the automatic evisceration line operations which follow. Some products are unwanted to process in the evisceration department, examples being undersized products (indicating a disease) or products which have not bled out correctly. Such products can be detected by an IRIS system installed in the defeathering line. These will then be automatically unloaded from the line at the LineLink transfer system.
This is a 20 unit transfer system which links the evisceration and air chill lines. Products locate into the system’s units. A quarter of the carrousel is dedicated to lifting products smoothly and carefully from the evisceration shackle. When products reach the transfer point to the chill line, the system’s units push products effortlessly into the chill shackle. Full synchronization of the evisceration and chill lines means that existing plants laid out for a chill line which runs faster than the evisceration line can now gain more chilling capacity, an additional benefit which comes free with the installation of LineLink.
Many processors will want to weigh and grade products for quality before they enter the air chiller. This gives them time to ensure that each product is put into its most profitable form. If weighing is required, this can be done using a SmartWeigher installed in the evisceration line. LineLink EC ensures that the weight information collected on each product stays with it through the chill and further downstream processes.