Pork shoulder deboning made easy

Deboflex Lineview

The Brazilian Industrial Meat Unit Castrolanda installed Marel’s ergonomic DeboFlex shoulder-deboning system to improve worker conditions and product output.

Aiming to be the leader in pig slaughtering and processing, the Brazilian Industrial Meat Unit Castrolanda installed Marel’s DeboFlex shoulder-deboning system in their brand-new pork processing facility in February 2015.

Owned by the Frísia, Castrolanda and Capal cooperatives, the Industrial Meat Unit Castrolanda markets its products under the Alegra brand.

The Cooperatives had previously heard about the DeboFlex but experiencing the system in operation at the facility of one of their Dutch customers really impressed them.

“When we saw the DeboFlex in operation, we immediately realized that this was the innovative system we were looking for,” says Ivonei Durigon, the unit superintendent at the Industrial Meat Unit Castrolanda. “The ergonomically designed DeboFlex improves the working condition on the cutting floor and makes it possible to cut more accurately.”


DeboFlex uses an overhead conveyor which transports the products in a controlled flow past workstations.

Shoulders hang as they are deboned

The DeboFlex system is designed for deboning both left and right pork shoulders – with one line for each side. DeboFlex uses an overhead conveyor which transports the products in a controlled flow past workstations.

At each workstation, the fore-end or leg is brought automatically into the correct position for the job to be done. Operations are carried out while the shoulder is hanging in the system, not while lying on a conveyor belt as with traditional pace-line systems. This prevents the accumulation of products.

Easy deboning that requires a simple skill set

The deboning operations are split into separate tasks. As the shoulders automatically move down the line, each operator, positioned at his or her own workstation, carries out a simple, specific operation.

“The operators have been very quick to learn the individual tasks they have to perform,” Everton Segatto, Industrial Manager explains. “There is no need for skilled meat operators or butchers because the system is very easy to work with. One of our big challenges in the industry is that labor is scarce.”

An ergonomic system – a better work environment

There are strict regulations on ergonomics in factories in Brazil. “Good ergonomics is one of the key highlights of the DeboFlex,” Everton Segatto says.

He continues, “It can be adjusted in several ways to accommodate the person at the station – with regard to height, resting support, speed, product positioning and so on. And of course, it also makes a difference that the products come in a continuous flow. Operators don’t have to move the products around, which requires strength. So it becomes easier to employ both women and men on the line. The system's flexibility allows for easy job rotation.”

A smooth and controlled product flow

A comprehensive logistics system integrated into the DeboFlex makes sure that offcuts—such as skin, fat, trim and bones—are automatically distributed via conveyors to packing, meat harvesting or further processing. This ensures an effective, smooth and controlled production.

Alegra at a glance

The union of the Frísia, Castrolanda and Capal cooperatives resulted in the Industrial Meat Unit Castrolanda and the quality brand of Alegra. The brand is growing in Brazil and is now exported to more than 25 countries. 

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