Sorter and compact spiral freezer automate poultry processing

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fmc foodtech Conveyor belt

An automated visual system for sorting parts and a spiral freezer
that saves on space are two of the latest products on the market
for the poultry processors.

The two new machines meet the demand for greater automation in the food processing industry, which is attempting to cut labour costs and improve output as a means of bringing down costs.

FMC FoodTech's D-Scan Product Attribute Processor allows processors to scan and sort poultry products based upon numerous attributes, thus improving product quality and production efficiency, the company claims.

"The D-Scan system improves raw product yield by using superior product information to direct each piece of raw poultry breast meat to its most profitable use,"​ FMC FoodTech stated in a press release.

The D-Scan uses a vision sensor and software to scan raw products before they arrive at slicers and portioning systems. The portioning software evaluates each piece of raw product for use in various finished products and then sorts them according to parameters such as yield or throughput.

The sort criteria are automatically adjusted to match production goals and line capacity, the company stated.

The D-Scan system deals effectively and automatically with variations in incoming product and can be used to determine an optimal bird size for the current sales mix, the company stated.

The company launched the scanner at the International Poultry Exhibition (IPE), which ended last week in Atlanta, Georgia.

"At IPE, we will be showcasing a D-Scan system configuration that has already achieved some remarkable line efficiency improvements in customer trials,"​ stated Jon Hocker, a product manager at FMC FoodTech. "In one case, the customer was able to see immediate improvements by resolving issues identified by the system. The D-Scan system has also been instrumental in developing cost effective solutions for some of the newest chicken sandwiches on the market today."

FMC FoodTech said its Gyrocompact M10 Tight Curve spiral freezer has a footprint the same width as its Gyrocompact 76 model, but more than 40 per cent greater capacity.

Spiral freezers use a circular conveyor system as a means of continuously freezing products and outputting them on a moving production line.

The M10 TC has superior hygiene, flexibility, reliability and performance, the company claims.

The freezer's 40-inch belt expands on the outermost side and collapses on the innermost to create a tight radius and curve. The freezer's pulling link is integrated in the mesh of the belt creating a completely flat belt surface.

"These enhancements allow for greater capacity and longer run-times with less downtime and turnaround time,"​ the company stated. "In addition, the new technology has no neck-down equipment from the process line, which allows for increased throughput."

The freezer's drive system advances the conveyor belt using only rolling friction for increased speed, using less lubrication and lower drive forces. In addition, the new drive allows increased stack weights of up to 45 tiers, significantly increasing its capacity and efficiency, the company stated.

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