Protecting Profits during Challenging Times
The global food processing industry is being challenged by cost increases, and the poultry industry is no exception as processors are confronted with higher bird and energy prices while consumer spending power is declining due to high inflation rates. Concurrently, processors still have to deal with important issues such as animal welfare, food safety, biosecurity and environmental concerns – and the solutions often result in even higher production costs. The good news is that consumers are looking to chicken meat as an alternative to more expensive meat proteins and if processors manage to increase efficiency throughout production, they can remain competitive and protect profits.
More efficient use of resources will enable processors to protect their margins at a time when the path to a sustainable and profitable business is unclear: people, equipment and products must be fully utilized. How the intake product is handled is key to any poultry processor’s success. After all, the efficiency with which raw material can be turned into a finished product largely determines the price it can command in a competitive marketplace. Three factors influence raw product efficiency:
Considerable resources are spent on breeding high-quality broilers, so it goes without saying that quality must be protected from farm to dispatch. Transporting live birds from the farm to the processing plant means moving the birds from a safe environment to a new unfamiliar place. Bird stress must be minimized during catching, transport, lairage and processing because rising stress levels will increase DOAs and bird injuries and damage meat quality. In other words, performance and yield benefit from good animal welfare.
Throughout processing, the carcass quality must be protected in order to maximize the end result of each bird. Flexibility to adjust processing to fit the actual flock size will help to avoid quality losses during stunning, killing, scalding, picking an devisceration. When the processor monitors each process closely, immediate actions can improve performance and avoid further downgrades. Strategic data capture can feed the processor within formation that reveals the performance in real time and form the basis for intelligent decisions.
When quality is not perfect or not fitting the incoming sales orders, it is essential to detect the quality grade and use the product in the most profitable way. Straightforward vision technology is a commonly used technique for quality detection that requires no human interference and works seamlessly at high processing speeds. Once the quality is detected, the production software automatically sends the bird downstream for best-fit production considering daily sales orders. New-generation vision technology not only delivers better images but also applies Artificial Intelligence to analyze the images.
The new BAADER Deep Machine Learning technology accelerates the grading performance and enables the new ClassifEye 2.0 vision system to learn other vision-related tasks. Vision technology is no longer only for distribution purposes. Recent years’ technology development allows for wider use of the vision camera throughout production in order to monitor specific quality issues after key processes, e.g. throat cutting, feather removal, or evisceration. Having a clear overview of the quality of each individual process and notifications when production is outside specifications helps the processor optimize each production step and avoid expensive downgrades.
In addition to quality grade, individual whole bird weight determines the further product processing. To protect yield performance, the line setup must fit the bird size being processed, e.g. the processor can send large products to a specific breast deboning line to achieve high fillet quality, less trimming and improved yield.
When the whole bird has been transformed into the products that best fit the daily order intake, the final products need to be packed and labelled before reaching dispatch. Accurate sorting and filling are important operations to ensure compliance with fill-weight legislations and to prevent unwanted overfilling – the so-called ‘give-away’ that results in a decrease in production yield. Automatic weighing, sorting and batching solutions are already common in modern poultry processing, but both the hardware and the software behind the operations are becoming more advanced to reduce give-away. Today, smart product buffering and sophisticated software algorithms allow for accurate filling without sending too many products over the end of the grader with extra product handling as a result.
At IPPE 2023, we will run live demos on all equipment: ClassifEYE 2.0 vision technology, Front Half Deboner 661, Refiner604 and the new grader. Visit our booth no. C12309 and see for yourself how a BAADER solution can help you optimize yield and profits.
By handling every incoming bird with care and intelligence, we help our customers get the most out of every piece of meat. We offer cutting-edge technology that transports, measures, weighs, cuts, debones and packs poultry products to best fit your market requirements and daily sales orders. Contact us today to set up a meeting during IPPE 2023.