Marel brings unparalleled automation to primary pork processing

If you’re not automating your line, you’re falling behind

MLR Removing Leaf Lard

Marel’s range of robots and automated solutions address efficiency, hygiene and labor shortages, critical factors to optimum operation

Automation is a hot topic in the meat industry. It refers to the use of automatic equipment to ease or remove the manual tasks of any process across the value chain. More than ever, automation is an issue that is very high on the agenda for most pork processors, prompted largely by occurrences such as African Swine Fever and Covid-19. In the pork industry, automation often includes robotics to reduce dependency on manual labor.

For decades, Marel has delivered automated hog kill floor lines, cutting and deboning hall installations and retail packing lines to the pork industry. As a full-line supplier, our state-of-the-art pork processing equipment, systems and software span the entire production value chain, from the receipt of live animals to the dispatch of finished products. This state-of-the-art automation has become a massive success because of the immediate improved food safety and hygienic conditions, as well as the reduced maintenance requirements and spare parts consumption.

With increasing speed, the pork processing industry is changing its methods from conventional manual handling to automated and robot-driven processes, and Marel is at the forefront of developing these advanced solutions. The latest development is the M-Line—a new generation of primary processing automation using robots with articulating arms.

M-Line Neck Cutter (MNC) for pig processing line

Labor insufficiency

While humans are becoming more vital behind the command center, automated robots are doing a job that is becoming harder to fill. Labor resources for the primary processing industry are scarce, raw material costs are rising, and wages are growing worldwide. Not to mention the impacts that COVID-19 has had on employee health and safety and the production flow.

Among other things, robotic automation decreases the reliance on skilled labor and increases employees’ wellbeing. And because the need for manual labor is drastically reduced, human error is practically eliminated, accuracy is improved, processes are optimized, and yield is significantly increased.

M-Line Leaf Lard Remover robot

Automation in primary processing

Some would argue that the primary processing line in a pork production facility has the most physically demanding jobs. They are labor-intensive tasks that include manually pulling, cutting and lifting heavy carcasses. That is why Marel has developed the M-Line robots—a range of automated primary processing solutions that eliminates the dependence on manual labor by utilizing robotics and 3D technology to do the job precisely, efficiently, and without damaging meat quality.

By combining our patented TwinTool technology with an advanced scanning process and high positioning accuracy, the M-Line robots increase the processing capacity and yield. Pork processors can rely on the solid performance of the M-Line industrial robots in complex and highly demanding production environments. The M-Line is also shown to reduce the number of full time employees.

The M-Line range of robots consists of the Pre-cutter and Belly opener (MPB), Bung Remover (MBR), Splitting Saw (MSS), Neck Cutter (MNC) and Leaf Lard Remover (MLR). Combining 3D carcass scanners, industrial robots, and the innovative TwinTool technology has set a new standard in primary processing automation that helps processors solve labor shortages, line inefficiencies and human errors.

M-Line Bung Remover with pork carcasses

Proven benefits of the M-Line range include:

  • Minimized labor in the primary process
  • Increased food safety
  • Improved shelf life of fresh, chilled pork products
  • Line optimization
M-Line Pre-Cutter and Belly Opener (MPB)

Who needs automation?

Automated and robotic solutions are ideal for pork processors looking to optimize the line efficiency, improve the consistency and improve the hygiene along their line. Consumer demand continues to drive processors to produce food in greater amounts and variety, and it’s no secret that automated processes can perform tasks faster and more accurately than their manual counterparts. Moreover, food safety concerns are greater than ever following the pandemic, and minimizing human contact and human error in processing can have substantial benefits for food hygiene.

In a time when the food processing industry has been faced with one of the most significant labor and hygiene challenges in recent history, there is hope for a more secure, efficient and sustainable future with automated robotic equipment like the M-Line.

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