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Meating arduous handling requirements

03 January 2017

Food Processing reports on different bulk handling solutions specified for meat processing lines. 

There are many factors that need to be considered when designing a bulk handling project and most projects will have some unique requirements in terms of the type of product being handled, the required application, the space available for equipment and the targets for throughput. The aim is to create the perfect bulk handling solution to ensure an efficient and tailored solution.

A recent project undertaken by SYSPAL was to develop a bespoke bulk handling system for meat processing – in particular manual boning and cutting applications. The end user needed a solution that would allow operatives to bring in and handle larger cuts of meat, remove unwanted excess, leaving a uniform graded meat product ready to be processed and packaged. There was a high target for throughput, while still maintaining quality, hygiene standards and protecting employee safety were all also vital requirements. 

SYSPAL's solution was a system that incorporated a Dolav tipper/tilter for product loading, a conveyor for processing and standard Eurobins for product transfer.  

The robust Dolav tipper at the front of the line meant that a large quantity of product could be deposited onto the conveyor line for increased throughput. The dolav tipper eliminates the need for manual lifting which significantly reduces the risks of staff developing musculoskeletal injuries. A tipping height of 920mm and a tipping angle of 85° mean that loading the product onto the conveyor is a simple and efficient process. 

To ensure that product quality is maintained during the bulk handling process the SYSPAL design team developed a bespoke conveyor system to make it easy for operatives to identify product that needed cutting and allowing them to carry out this process quickly and efficiently. To ensure that the high targets for throughput are met the conveyor has been designed to incorporate two belts. This allows twice the product to be processed in one shift, doubling throughput. The conveyor belts are designed with individual variable speed settings so employees are able to work at a safe speed on either side of the conveyor line. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) sliding chopping boards and integrated tray racking have been incorporated into the system for an efficient cutting process without staff needing to leave the conveyor area. Once offcuts are removed, the final graded product could be placed back on the conveyor to be directed by adjustable guides into two Eurobins ready to move on to the next stage of the manufacturing process.

Because of the tough demands of meat processing applications, the belts are impact resistant and designed to be accessible for intensive manual cleaning. This ensures that the system maintains the high standards of hygiene required while being robust and durable. 

Although this system has been designed to specific dimensions, the team at SYSPAL are able to produce similar bespoke bulk handling solutions to meet most individual requirements.
Challenging application
One of the most challenging bulk handling systems developed by UPM Conveyors was for a project operating at 3000kgs/hr on a 24 hour, seven day a week operation.

Pinnacle Foods produces free flow IQF mince and diced pork, lamb, beef, chicken and turkey, chops, joints and manufacturing pork, lamb, beef, chicken and turkey. Graham Reed, managing director selected UPM Conveyors to design the complete product handling system which involved the handling of meat and poultry from goods-in through to band saws (including inspection and sieving); dicers, flakers, mincers, undersize screening to an Octofrost freezer tunnel and finally a multihead weigher/bagger and packing/despatch with an output of three tonnes per hour.

“All aspects of manufacture were carried in house at UPM, including fabrication programming and control build based on a central PLC touch screen to interface all belt conveyors to the multihead weigher so that, in the event that a problem arises then product can be diverted,” said Roy Fowler, director at UPM Conveyors. 

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