Automated beef boning system in development

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Scott Technology announces the development of an automated beef boning system, which it says will improve efficiency

New Zealand automation and robotics company Scott Technology has announced a new A$18 million contract to design, build and commission an automated beef boning system.

Scott Technology is partnering with Australian meat processing company Teys and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to develop the machine which, it says, will improve yield, product quality, throughput and efficiency, while also increasing operator and food safety.

"This development comes at a time when now, more than ever, the beef industry around the world is struggling with labour shortages and searching for opportunities to improve yield and efficiencies," Scott Technology CEO John Kippenberger says.

"We are delighted to be partnering with Teys, one of Australia’s leading protein producers with a rich history in the industry, and MLA, who bring a pan-industry perspective and a true appreciation for the benefits this leading-edge development will bring to beef processors.

"It’s a great example of our strategy in action, fostering authentic customer partnerships which share a collective vision for a better future."

The boning machine will process 200 carcasses an hour

The automated beef boning system is designed to process 200 carcasses per hour, which Scott Technology says will be the first of its kind in the world.

"The overall return on investment to the processor is significant," Kippenberger says.

"The system will use automated cutting equipment, supported by advanced scanning and vision technology, to provide precise cuts improving product quality, while reducing health and safety risks. The use of smart technology will maximise the value of each beef carcass through data and cutting accuracy."

The beef boning machine is based on Scott Technology’s automated lamb boning system. This utilises x-ray technology to scan each carcass and generate a 3D map of the bones within, providing the correct height and angle measurements to accurately cut.

The company says its repetitive accuracy is far greater than human capabilities and will increase the capacity with reduced operating costs.

With the anticipated launch in 2023, this beef boning system is being developed for the Australian industry, which makes up almost 4 per cent of the total global beef industry, with further expansion to the US planned.

The United States is the world’s largest producer of beef, accounting for just over 20 per cent of the total global industry.

"Based on these figures alone, this technology has huge potential globally," Kippenberger says.

"Following a successful launch in Australia, there’s an opportunity for Scott to deploy the system into the US$60 billion (A$83.7 billion) beef industry in the United States and beyond. We look forward to exploring this further with our global partners."

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