In-line control of trimmings at VION for improved quality and customer service

In-line control of trimmings at VION
23. lut, 2017
Learn how in-line X-ray analysis of trimmings is helping Vion in Germany to run different fat/lean strategies for improved quality and customer service.

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Markus Immerz from VION talked to us about how they do in-line control of meat trimming

Can you explain how you process the meat at Vion
Markus Immerz: When live animals are delivered to the slaughtering house, each is given a veterinary inspection where after only healthy and strong animals are processed. After slaughtering, a post-mortem inspection is conducted and the beef carcass classification system follows, where the animals are graded according to common EU Standards. After the post-mortem inspection and classification, the carcasses are cooled down and cut in hind and front quarters. These are then stored in a specific order in refrigerators. Thereafter, the deboning and cutting process starts in predefined intervals.


In the deboning and cutting hall, the cutting processes are regulated and individual customer requirements are met by working according to a predefined complex and detailed meat-processing plan. By updating the meat-processing plan on a daily basis, specific customer wishes, depending on the subsequent downstream processes, can be met for each and every client. 
The produced prime cuts are transferred with a direct carriage system to the packaging department where the products are identified, weighed and labeled, as well as packed according to specific customer requests.

Why did you invest in the FOSS Meat Master solution?
Waldkraiburg is very successful in selling carcasses and primal cuts and gains increasing popularity with off-cuts and trimmings. To gain higher transparency within this market sector and ensure advanced food safety levels for our customers, we invested in the highly innovative MeatMaster. The MeatMaster carries out meat analysis with a specific X-Ray system and determines fat content and weight with a high accuracy, while also spotting foreign objects like metal or bones.

Before the implementation of the MeatMaster, we could only rely on the hands-on experience of our sorting-butchers based on many years of experience, know-how and practice. After implementation, we can now combine this valuable hands-on experience with an innovative technical support to gain a maximum of accuracy and thus achieve an added value for all involved participants. All the trimmings and off-cuts that randomly arise from the cutting process need to be sorted in particular fat ratios.


After sorting it in either 90/10, 80/20 or 70/30, depending on the customer demand, the categorized box is directed into a short-term buffer before it reaches the MeatMaster. The MeatMaster then weighs the product box and measures the fat content in percentage with a predefined tolerance gap. A software algorithm decides which product box fits which customer order best, and directs it accordingly in the subsequent conveyor line. This specific MeatMaster conveyer line has the option to serve four different product lines at the same time.


Thus, different orders can run simultaneously and need to be distinguished. After initial start-up and acceptance difficulties, especially by the sorting butchers, fearing to be replaced by a machine, the MeatMaster has proven to be a success. By now, we can follow three different strategies: We can upgrade raw material from fat levels into leaner ones. Secondly, we can split and define fat and low-fat material, but can also mix different fat levels to serve mainstream demand.


Combining these three strategies leads to a rapid return on investment. After making my own experience in handling the MeatMaster and noticing the direct advantages, I feel quite sure that the MeatMaster will be paid-off within an estimate of the following two years.


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