Customer story

SuKarne thinks big

05 Apr 2018

SuKarne recently built a new processing plant in Durango, Mexico. This new plant is part of a comprehensive agriculture site where adjacent feedlots hold approximately 250,000 head of cattle – dairy cows, steers, heifers and bulls. Because of the varying sizes of the cattle, SuKarne decided to build what’s known as a "cattle, multispecies, slaughtering facility".
 

BUILDING A NEW PLANT

To suit SuKarne’s particular needs, MPS Meat Processing Systems (now Marel Meat) designed, delivered and installed a high-speed slaughtering plant with a capacity of 165 cattle per hour. The plant in Lucero includes a center track restrainer stunner based on a Temple Grandin design, a stand-alone knocking box with features on restraining heads, shoulders and animal lengths and a landing table according to the latest animal welfare requirements. The hides-on department (i.e. the skinning floor) is equipped with a number of free elevating platforms that allow an operator to adjust his position depending on the work he’s doing on the animal in front of him.
The hides-off department (i.e. the evisceration floor) is equipped with several features that are unique in their design and never before seen in the Americas. The paunch-harvesting carousel, for instance, allows for up to four operators to fully eviscerate an animal and can be adjusted according to the length or height of the animal.
 

CONTROL SOFTWARE THROUGHOUT

To optimize and control operations inside the slaughter hall, SuKarne also installed Marel’s Innova Slaughter Control software . This software monitors and controls the slaughter process from the receiving of animals to their classification.

It allows processors to control and monitor the slaughter process in real time while ensuring traceability and the execution of quality-control procedures.

The software also enables data collection at key points in the process, such as:

  • receiving of live animals
  • sequencing
  • veterinary inspection
  • classification
  • process weighing

When animals are received, a touchscreen terminal is used to update or record all information – including race, weight and grade – as they enter the slaughterhouse.

As the animals pass through the slaughterhouse, data continues to be collected at various collection points and used throughout the process. For example, at the point of veterinary inspection, the carcass is checked for blood spots and other defects or diseases.

The veterinarian then assigns the animal to further slaughter or decides if it should be detained or destroyed.

In the cutting area, the split carcasses continue to be monitored via the Innova Slaughter Control software. In the classification terminal, the classification and weight of the animal is registered and the final slaughter label is printed.

Data from the entire production process can be made available on control screens and in slaughter reports. The reports typically include information about input/ output registrations, the veterinarian’s remarks and carcass yields. The software also allows for full animal traceability, along with information on the day of production, shifts, production orders, lots and resource areas.

The Innova Slaughter Control software installed in the primary processing area at SuKarne’s Lucero plant communicates with the Innova deboning software installed in the secondary processing area (deboning and trimming) of the plant.

With the Innova software it’s possible to trace products all the way to finished products. The software in the slaughter, deboning, and pack and portioning areas gives us the full overview. It is like we were blind before, and now we see things as they happen. And we can manage them.”

- Oscar Leal, SuKarne’s processing projects manager
 

INNOVA SLAUGHTER CONTROL SOFTWARE

The general benefits of using the software in the slaughter hall include:

  • connects to equipment including grading devices and rail control systems
  • enables production decisions and planning downstream in deboning and trimming hall (StreamLine)
  • provides real-time production information
  • collects yield information from slaughter process
  • exports data to other systems, such as payment systems
  • integrates seamlessly with other modules

DEBONING EFFICIENCY AND THROUGHPUT

In 2011 SuKarne made a conscious and strategic decision to automate and upgrade their beef processing operations. As the biggest beef processor in Mexico and one of the biggest in North America, SuKarne wanted to expand to the rest of the world, especially to the European market. With the use of automation and highly advanced processing technology, the company is well on its way towards its goal.

“Even though our home market is very good and Mexico is our biggest market, we see huge benefits in being able to also supply the European market,” says Oscar Leal, processing projects manager at SuKarne.

As part of the expansion plan, SuKarne has refurbished the deboning and trimming floors of several plants and built a state-of-the-art processing plant in Lucero, in the Mexican state of Durango.

The directors and managers of SuKarne had previously visited an Irish beef processor, where they saw and experienced Marel’s StreamLine deboning and trimming solution. Highly impressed, SuKarne decided to implement similar systems in their plants.

They decided to first install Marel’s StreamLine solution at SuKarne’s Mexicali facility. Their biggest challenge proved to be changing old habits and adapt to new methods.

“Seeing the results of the system is very convincing and the understanding of the traceability made the difference. Now even the ‘doubters’ have totally adapted and fully embraced the system. They are now a key to the success of the system.”

- Oscar Leal, Processing Projects Manager, SuKarne.
 

Leal elaborates, “To fully optimize the new real-time work methodology, we have created teams of a supervisor, QC inspector and production controller for each line, who work together to improve and optimize on yield, quality and throughput – with great success.”

Before installing the StreamLine deboning and trimming system, SuKarne was working with pace line systems that had a limited possibility of controlling the flow and production. With the StreamLine system in place, up to 60 different types of products are processed in a one-piece orderly flow. This is the beauty of the system, according to Oscar Leal. Javan Flores, a Marel systems control engineer, has seen a lot of production improvements over the past 12 months with the new deboning and trimming system. “Before investing in the system, we identified several opportunities for improving our performance, which have all been fulfilled. We have achieved full production control, substantial yield improvement, higher profitability, less waste, better ergonomics – and we have a very reliable and stable system.”

These benefits are supported by production manager Irving Sosa. “We can constantly see the production figures online in the Innova software systems and we can, at any time, generate performance reports. SuKarne Mexicali is doing very well in reaching the targeted throughput. So now we need to focus on efficient line speed and further yield improvement – even though we’ve already seen a big increase in yield. We want to reach a carcass yield of 82%, but we’re not quite there yet.”
 

IMPLEMENTING A NEW PROCESS

The Streamline system is ergonomically designed and the individual meat products are delivered directly to operators, along with task information that appears online on their station indicators. This gives operators a more stress-free work environment.

Operators also see benefits in being able to monitor their own performances. “They can monitor their own performance against the line performance and against other individual operators. This actually motivates them to try to improve themselves to be better on the line,” says Javan Flores. “They take pride in being at the top of performance and featuring at the top of the list.”
 

TEAMWORK IS EVERYTHING

When working on big projects and changing systems and work procedures like at SuKarne, close cooperation between stakeholders is required. Oscar Leal has been part of the SuKarne projects from the beginning. “We have had – and still have – very good and successful cooperation with Marel and MPS Meat Processing Systems. I especially want to highlight the Marel process consultant, who, during the implementation period, was extremely good at helping with optimizing our production processes, improving our reports and helping with maintenance procedures.” Leal continues, “Oh, and let’s not forget service. Service is very important to us. Especially important to us is training, spare-parts and remote support, and trouble shooting. We have an extensive service agreement with Marel, including a system that allows remote access. This means that somebody in the Marel organization can log on any time and help us solve our problems.”


Read more about the StreamLine trimming line

Read more about Innova Food Processing Software

Read more about Marel's cutting, deboning and trimming equipment