Quality-driven in-line distribution of fillets on a belt

IRIS FI and Fillet Distributor bring each fillet to its best destination

Fillet Distributor Speed

Poultry processors demand the very best utilization of every single breast fillet. They want to distribute them to the best matching destinations, based on weight and quality data. By combining state-of-the-art technology and real-time process data in fillet distribution, Marel’s IRIS FI and Fillet Distributor are able to get the best out of each fillet. Such a quality-driven in-line logistic distribution on a conveyor belt is a unique solution in the industry.

It is the wish of many poultry processors to know the whereabouts and the quality of each individual product all the way through the plant, not only when it is on the overhead conveyor but also when it is on a belt conveyor. Marel’s IRIS FI camera system for inspection after trimming is a big help here. By detecting visual quality characteristics, camera inspection after the trimming station allows for in-line quality control of the fillet without any manual hassle.

Breast Meat Distribution Correct

Data-driven separation of streams of different fillet qualities


For visual grading of fillets, Marel has extended its IRIS family, a proven benchmark in the industry. IRIS FI’s advanced camera delivers an objective, reliable image that shows all possible visual defects. Together with software, sensors and Fillet Distributor, it forms part of a bigger system. The specific task of Marel’s IRIS FI is to ensure visual quality assessment of breast fillets after trimming. Using this tool, the system will be able to distribute fillets not only by weight, but also by quality characteristics. It can detect visual anomalies or defects such as blood spots or fat content, which will be part of the decision-making process in determining the destination of the fillet. There is no need for manual touching or subjective human judgment, enhancing hygiene, product integrity and food safety, while saving labor.

Fillet Distributor

Fillet Distributor allows processors to apply data-driven in-line separation of the streams of different fillet qualities after trimming. Overlooked fillets with pieces of fat, bloodspots or skin can then be sorted out.
Fillet Distributor consists of extremely fast, vertically opening and closing SystemFlex conveyor belts. Using multiple Distributors, more complex product streams can be configured in the process. Once Fillet Distributor has released them to another belt, the position of each measured, weighed and graded fillet stays the same. Product detectors control and recalibrate their position on the belt, so that the system knows exact locations.

Fillet Distributor3


Normally, once products have been released from the overhead conveyor shackle, their traceability is lost. Individual data, gathered earlier in the process and linked to the shackle, can no longer be tracked, as harvested products such as breast fillets lie randomly on the conveyor belt. Marel’s SystemFlex conveyor intelligence and product sensors along the line are, however, able to locate and trace these products in the process. The system follows product characteristics while the product is on a SystemFlex conveyor. All the time, the system knows the exact whereabouts of the fillet in the process and traceability is maintained.

Best destinations

Determining the volume, weight and initial position of each individual fillet on the belt is the job of the first Marel machine or sensor in the line, such as SensorX. IRIS FI adds visual quality to the fillet’s dataset. Based on this data, and combining it with production orders, Innova PDS is able to determine the best destination for each individual fillet.

If fillet quality is less than optimal, the fillet can be used in a portioned end product and can therefore be assigned to the I-Cut route. If fillet quality is perfect and the fillet is the ideal weight and size for packing whole, it will then be directed to the packing route via RoboBatcher.

Decisions per process

Data obtained by Fillet Inspector’s first visual analysis will stay with the product along the line. If the product does not meet the specifications for the first process in the line, it will be forwarded to the next process. On arrival, its quality data can be retrieved again to verify if its quality meets this specific process. This can be done at various points in the line. The exact quality required can be defined for each destination.

IRIS FI Unveiled4

Best practices for IRIS FI and Fillet Distributor

Processors are looking for ways to distribute all fillet weights and qualities to appropriate streams to utilize maximum product value. Thus far, only one weight range could be picked out for packing, whereas other fillets simply ‘passed by’ on the belt, often destined for bulk purposes. As for fillet quality inspection, only manual assessment, after filleting, was possible.
Now, Marel allows the assessment and distribution of all quality and weight ranges, so that every single fillet can find its best possible destination. IRIS FI and Fillet Distributor can be applied in multiple ways. What do you want to do with all the quality and weight data? Where and how to make best use of each fillet?

  • You want to distribute fixed-weight and fixed-quality fillets
    QSR and food service customers insist on consistent quality products with fixed weights. The IRIS FI camera assesses the quality, the fillet is weighed by a SensorX (or another in-line weigher) and the Fillet Distributor distributes the products of different qualities and weights to the proper destinations.
  • You want to focus on quality only
    With the help of the IRIS FI and Fillet Distributor, fillets with approved quality can go directly in a downstream flow for catch-weight packing in trays, while rejected quality fillets (color deviations, blood spots, fat content) follow other processes, such as portioning or convenience food production.
  • You want to focus on weight only
    An in-line weigher and Fillet Distributor together take care of calibrated flows, e.g. light, medium and heavy weight fillets, to the different packing lines. Heavy products can be sent to a portion cutter I-Cut 122 TrimSort, creating a smaller, more desired fillet and valuable off-cut.
  • You want to analyze what happened with the fillets
    Camera data can be used for analyzing purposes, for instance statistics of the post-trim quality check by the camera. It’s possible to monitor the quality and weight of a certain flock or shift, to analyze what it has brought.
IRIS FI Fillet Distribution


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