Optimized line efficiency and increased robustness with FHF FlexControl

Line monitoring, HMI control and Tenderloin Harvester

FHF Tenderloins Harvested

The new FHF FlexControl upgrade for FHF-XB lines leaves behind the time when front half deboning processes were purely mechanical and pneumatic. New PLC technology, controlled by an HMI touchscreen, allows for the monitoring of FHF modules and control of recipes, while a new Tenderloin Harvester module has also been added. The FHF FlexControl modification set features new technology to optimize line efficiency and increase robustness.


FHF FlexControl front half deboning features new PLC-controlled (Programmable Logic Controller) modules, meaning that microprocessors have taken over. The implementation of PLC technology enhances performance of the FHF modules, while also being user-friendlier. PLC-control provides accurate tracking of the front half through the modules, ensuring a consistent job done with correct timing and stable accuracy. This improves the reliability of the FHF FlexControl system and benefits uptime.

FHF Flexcontrol HMI

Robust and safe

Due to the use of sensors instead of pneumatic valves, the reliability of the pneumatic actions becomes more robust, which keeps the performance at a constant high level. This is beneficial for yield, line efficiency and cost of ownership. For adjusting the pneumatic settings, it is no longer necessary to enter the safety fence. Now that adjustments can be made remotely through the HMI screen, the overall safety benefits.

Total touch

The new HMI touchscreen lets you control the PLC-driven, pneumatically activated modules of the FHF FlexControl system. Entering a recipe for the weight of the flock about to be processed is straightforward. The timing of the PLC-controlled actions in the deboning line will adjust accordingly. Are the front halves to be processed from small broilers with a grill weight from 1400 to 1900 grams [3.1 to 4.2 lbs] or larger grill weights from 2200 to 2700 grams [4.8 to 6 lbs]? By clicking the appropriate flock weight on the touchscreen, these FHF modules will automatically set themselves to the weight range.

The new techniques of the FHF FlexControl are beneficial for yield, line efficiency and cost of ownership.

FHF Overview

Line monitoring

New system software allows for easy monitoring of FHF performance. Once product has been loaded onto a carrier, this carrier will be followed through the line. The software knows what enters and leaves each module. For example, on the HMI touchscreen it is easy to see which carriers feature the highest product loss or ratchet failure. It is also possible to visualize on the HMI screen product loss per individual module (and per unit of the wishbone module). Once a defective product carrier is detected, it can be diverted to the new in-line service station, where it can be replaced during a break in production.

Improved tenderloin harvesting

The new Tenderloin Harvester module for FHF is suitable for all markets, whether front halves are water or air-chilled. It can handle both fresh and matured meat. It saves labor as only one operator is needed. As harvesting is done automatically, RSI can no longer happen here. Automated tenderloin harvesting goes in steps. First the front half enters the module‘s separation part where the tenderloin is separated from the sternum and the surrounding membrane is cut halfway by dynamic blades. In the second part of the module the membrane is completely disconnected by membrane scrapers and harvested by a last set of ploughs.

FHF Flexcontrol2

Backup function for baby tender

A unique feature of this module is that its rotating blades are also capable of harvesting any remaining baby tender along with the tenderloin. The baby tender is a small piece of meat located on the coracoid bone and attached to the wing by a small tendon. By pulling on the wing, the baby tender can usually be harvested along with the fillet. If front halves have, however, been matured, the tendon connection may be too weak to detach the baby tender from the bone. It is therefore left behind, but there is a backup solution now. In this situation, static knives won’t help. The rotating knives of the new Tenderloin Harvester, however, come to the rescue, efficiently harvesting this piece of meat. The result is a tenderloin with an additional flap of meat attached. This backup function for the baby tender ensures maximum yield of breast meat

FHF End Products


The Tenderloin Harvester’s contributions to higher yields don’t stop here. It can also cut very close to the wishbone in the shoulder area, resulting in various pieces of meat being cut off. These bits fall onto a conveyor belt and can be put to good use, yielding a higher value than before. This can result in substantial volumes of premium white breast meat, driving the already impressive efficiency of the Tenderloin Harvester to above 98%.

All the aforementioned FlexControl upgrades significantly benefit the entire FHF system. Besides making the front half deboning system more robust and safe, the new techniques are beneficial for yield, line efficiency and cost of ownership. It is, of course, possible to upgrade existing FHF-XB lines to the new FHF FlexControl standard.


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