Robotic application for the meat industry

Preface

It is not a secret that slaughterhouse workers are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to the upper limb disorders caused by fast paced repetitive tasks. Chronic pain in wrists, shoulders and back is nearly an inevitable occupational injury amongst the workers.

Fortunately, in the last decades more and more meat processing plants, and slaughterhouses have started to consider the imperativeness of good occupational health of their employees and therefore the number of industrial robots adopted by the meat processing facilities continues to grow.

While some studies are concerned about the increase in work intensity as a result of rapidly growing industrial automation, others find a strong link between the number of robots performing repetitive and demanding tasks and rising occupational health standards.   

Case Story

Photo: DMRI

Generic Meat Mover by DMRI

Generic Meat Mover is developed by DMRI (Danish Meat Research Institute), a part of the Danish Technological Institute, and produced by Robot Norge. 

The performance volume of the robot is equal to the work of approximately 5 people in compliance with the regulations for daily lifting quantity, monitored by the Danish Work Environment Authority. The recommended daily lifting quantity for one person must not exceed 2-10 tonnes depending on the distance from the torso.

The Meat Mover can move 1,500 vacuum-packed pieces from belt to box per hour, 1,100 fresh pieces from box to belt or 1,200 fresh pieces from belt to belt.

Flexible and hygienic application

The Generic Meat Mover consists of a high-precision complex vision system, a robot, and a product specific hygienic gripper with an integrated quick tool changer. The vision system enables the robot to approach the product very fast from the best position possible, while the gripper tool ensures firm grip under pick and place application.

The robot can be placed in several places on the production line, as it can lift both packaged and unpackaged meat from a box to a conveyor belt and vice versa. Simply select the pre-programmed application on a touchscreen and replace the suction cup to fit the product. In contrast to robots with only one function, the Meat Mover provides flexible handling and significantly less downtime.

Main operational data:

Reach of robot = 978 mm (can be changed depending on the specific operation)

Capacity of vacuum-packed products from conveyor to box = 1500 pcs/hour

Capacity of fresh products from box to conveyor = 1100 pcs/hour

Capacity of fresh products from conveyor to conveyor = 1200 pcs/hour

No growth in bacteria on the SofTouch suction cup during an average working day (8 hours)

Quick change of tools if worn or damaged with QuickZhift tool changer = within seconds

The robot is primarily developed to handle products of 2-7 kilograms, but it is also available in versions that can lift much heavier products.

Source: DMRI “Generic Meat Moving Robot”

Gripper Tool

Hygienic suction gripper

A custom gripping solution for Generic Meat mover project has been developed in a close collaboration with the integrator to ensure effectiveness of the tool and its compliance with the application concept.

The suction gripper has been designed to perform handling of raw as well as packed meat pieces. An oval form of the pad has been chosen as the most suitable for dealing with the given product category.

Customizing the size of the tool and its other characteristics has entailed extensive testing and consideration of all product specifications.

Additionally, food contact safety requirements are met through the hygienic design and food grade materials.

The gripper is easy to change and clean. No growth in bacteria within 8 hours.

Key advantages

Tailored design

Hygienic

Quick tool changer

Payload up to 7kg

Reliable grip

More cases are coming soon ...

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper

Meat mover

Hygienic suction cup gripper