QSR production on a breast meat processing line

Towards an operator-free process with RoboOptimizer

Robooptimizer I Cut122

A breast meat processing line comprising ProFlow software, SensorX, RoboOptimizer and I-Cut 122 TrimSort systems can produce a wide variety of high-quality ‘regular’ products including fillets, butterflies and tenders. But such a line is very versatile and can also be used to produce whole-muscle fast food, such as burgers (sandwiches) and strips, or a combination of both items.

Given the increasing importance of the QSR market, this possibility is very welcome. In such a QSR process, RoboOptimizer is a new component, which automates loading of the portion cutter. In doing this, RoboOptimizer plays a vital role in moving towards an operator-free environment. Global Product Specialist Morten Dalqvist explains how Marel’s breast meat processing line is optimally suited for the production of QSR items.


Robooptimizer Lines

Whole muscle QSR products

Seen from a QSR perspective, the process of creating whole-muscle fast food products involves both state-of-the-art machinery and software. High-quality deboned fillets coming from the AMF-i or FHF FlexControl are routed to their most appropriate destinations by ProFlow distribution software, which ensures that each fillet is processed with top yield, quality and value in mind. The fillets proceed through SensorX to RoboOptimizer, where they are correctly positioned for portioning in the I-Cut 122 TrimSort. Morten Dalqvist says, “In this way, it is possible to produce either one chicken burger, two burgers, a burger with strips or a number of strips from a single fillet. Yields will be top. The process is fully automatic with no need to touch products, unless manual trimming is required.”

Robotized positioning

“RoboOptimizer is a new essential component in this completely controlled QSR breast meat process. It does away with the need to arrange products manually before they enter the portion cutter. Thanks to correct positioning by robot, it is much easier to create high-yield end products, either sandwiches or strips, and still meet uniform specifications for the end-product,” continues Morten Dalqvist.

The process can be fully automatic with no need for human hands to touch the product.

Morten Dalqvist
Marel Global Product Specialist

Left and right identification

The RoboOptimizer can accurately position fillets based on their being identified correctly as left fillets or right fillets. Only by placing every single fillet in its optimal position can top quality and yield be achieved. The downstream portion cutter is supplied with products that consistently meet the right length, width, height and weight criteria. Marel holds patents for this innovative process, which highlights the uniqueness of the line.

Meat fiber direction

Why is it so important to have left and right fillets identified correctly? Morten Dalqvist answers, “Even when all fillets are orientated similarly on the belt, head-first for instance, the cutting result can still depend on whether they are left or right fillets. The difference between a left and right fillet can make all the difference between a product being accepted, rejected or downgraded.
When producing fillets for chicken sandwiches, left and right detection is essential. If the fillet is cut the wrong way, it will be rejected downstream, as it won’t have the teardrop or rectangular shape wanted by the customer. Only when it is cut along the direction of the meat fibers, which is different for left and right fillets, will the sandwich fillet be top quality.
For strips, cutting against the fillet fibers should be avoided too. Once these fibers have been destroyed, the strip will become very elastic or very thin. It will be downgraded because it can no longer be controlled in the downstream process. You simply have to maintain the dimensions of the product. If product stretches too much during the tumbling and coating processes, its quality will deteriorate.”

Thanks to positioning by robot, it is much easier to create high-yield burgers and strips.

Morten Dalqvist
Marel Global Product Specialist

Reject gap

The gap between the belts of RoboOptimizer and I-Cut 122 TrimSort rejects products automatically. “It all sounds very simple. However, RoboOptimizer’s intelligence knows exactly when to skip a product – examples being loose trimmings, off-cuts, faulty products and products that are either out of range or too close to one another. This ensures that any disruptions to the process flow are taken out at this point. Maintaining a five-centimeter gap between the belts is therefore crucial for discarding rejected fillets. At the same time the robot arm swiftly transfers the accepted fillets from one belt to the other,” concludes Morten Dalqvist.

Left and right fillet detection as well as the method of rejecting faulty products are two patented RoboPositioner techniques.

Robooptimizer Pickup


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