Customer story

Standard Meat – turn-key plant

19 Feb 2009

Standard Meat – turn-key plant
Marel sets up highly effective meat processing lines at the Standard Meat Company, Dallas, Texas, USA.


A brand new style

Marel sets up highly effective meat processing lines at the Standard Meat Company, Dallas, Texas, USA

In true Texas style of striving to be the best, the Standard Meat Company opened its new meat processing facility in Dallas in 2002. Developed and implemented by Marel and its subsidiary Carnitech in co-operation with Standard Meat, the plant breaks new ground in meat processing with state-of-the-art technology. The processing system developed and installed at the Standard Meat plant is a combination of traditional processing into tubs, and top-of-the-line Marel flowline and portioning technology with Carnitech’s packing solutions. 

The Standard Meat Headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

This successful merger of technologies takes meat processing to the next level of performance, which includes real-time data readouts, Marel’s flowline concept of seamless product flow and automated registration of tub conveying. The system is monitored and controlled with the MPS production software, providing a real-time overview of the entire production flow: from incoming raw material to packing and shipping.

Designed for diversity
“We produce products such as Top Sirloin, Tenderloins, Rib eye and Strips. With such a diverse operation, we wanted to create a system that kept product handling to a minimum, while ensuring that all transfers were smooth and seamless. We ended up with a system that has worked very well for us,” says Will Davenport, Director of Engineering, who was involved with the project from the beginning.

Overview of the operation at Standard Meat.

Off to a good start
“Installation went very smoothly. A team of 4-6 people was here during the process and everything went according to schedule. I was very impressed with their professionalism, skill, and knowledge. They were not afraid of hard work or long days to get the job done,” says Davenport. “This has been a very successful project from the start, and I’m very happy with the production lines that are up and running.”

Increased throughput and yield
“When we moved into our new plant, two shifts were merged into one, generating the throughput we expected with less staff,“ explained Sam Beebe, General Manager. “We are able to process considerably more products on a one-shift basis than we did on a two-shift basis. This was due to the improved product flow and layout of the entire facility. Yield and productivity tend to go hand in hand, and we have certainly improved both.”

Overview of steak portioning

“While throughput and yield are very important, food safety, product quality and employee safety are our primary concerns,” says Davenport. “The Marel equipment is very well designed, and certainly easy to clean. We use a sanitation contractor and they have been very pleased with the entire system. Safety related to food and employees is extremely important to us, and the equipment meets all these requirements.”

Quicker processing – less handling
“After processing the meat, it is transported directly to packaging machines with no further handling, It is then placed into a box and held in our finished goods storage cooler. The less you handle the product the better shelf life you realize,” says Beebe. “For food safety reasons, one of our primary goals of the project was to minimize the amount of time the product would flow from the raw material cooler, through processing and finally into finished goods. The automation and conveyors have certainly made sure this was accomplished.”

RF tags keep track of boxed meat

Production flow and traceability
Raw material arrives at the plant and is scanned into the MPS production Software system with handheld computers. Each pallet receives a bar code label that identifies the origin, type of product and date. The pallet is weighed on a M2000 floor scale, the data recorded, and a label printed for each individual pallet. It is then moved into the aging storage room where it remains for a period depending on the product.

The MPS system stores all information relative to the product, keeps track of dates, and times for each pallet to ensure production knows it is ready for processing. This allows the company automatic overview identifying which pallets are ready, making the entire process easy, accessible, and reliable.

Automatic infeed and allocation
Raw material, ready for processing, is placed into six buffers, one for each product, and then allocated to different processing lines. The meat is first transported to an infeed grader and then moves through a tenderizing machine, or in the case of the Top Sirloin, a splitter that was specially designed for Standard Meat. Davenport had seen the possibilities a few years earlier. “I saw the Marel chicken breast splitter and asked if it could be modified for top sirloins since the cut is labor intensive and time consuming. Marel worked on design modifications, which turned out to be relatively easy. The splitter has increased our throughput on the Top Sirloin line significantly,” says Davenport. “It not only saves us a lot of time, but it also eliminates one less movement for steak cutters, which means fewer injuries.”

New Splitter for large pieces of meat

Trimming lines
The product arrives at the pre-trimming lines where individual operators trim the meat. Each line is specifically designed for the product it processes. The operator stations have a worktable and bins for primary products and by-products. Each trimmer has real-time data on the product being processed in front of them and can see product type, throughput and yield as they work. Trim is moved on another conveyor to a different station for other processing. The meat is graded, weighed and moved to the IPM III infeed belt for portioning into steaks.