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Bacon slicing - capacity without compromise

14 November 2011

Evolution is imperative in the continued development of any business and bacon slicing is no exception.

With the Weber range of slicers supplied by Interfood Technology, continual improvement isn’t just a nice slogan dreamed up by the marketing department, it’s one of the cornerstones on which the company’s success has been built.

Back in the mid 00’s Weber entered the bacon market with its ever reliable 902 work-horse alongside its new scanning technology. This combination set a new standard in yield recovery, offering unrivalled give-away control coupled with excellent levels of accept rate (portions produced in-weight, right first time): evolution had occurred and a new standard had been set.

The launch of the 904 brought a step-change in machine technology, from which evolved the new Weber 804, introduced last year, to offer a new mid-range involute blade slicer. The 804 was designed to ultimately replace the 902, incorporating all of the technical advantages developed in this machine into a more compact, cost effective model – so what next?

Having made the advances in yield recovery, the next step has to be capacity, and with this in mind Weber have successfully launched twin log slicing of bacon primals on the 904.

Rob Unwin, Director of Interfood’s Slicing Division, comments: “the ability to produce greater capacity in today’s market is a major step forward; manufactures are under constant pressure to drive efficiency, cut manufacturing costs and improve profitability. But with the ever increasing cost of raw material and a technically demanding market place, capacity cannot be achieved at the expense of quality or yield – meat is money and customers buy with their eyes - they might be clichés but they have never been truer.

“We might now be slicing two primals simultaneously but with the evolution of multi-track scanning and independent controls and ever improving blade technology, we can truly offer capacity without compromise,
increasing throughput, holding yield recovery and ensuring that the slice and pack quality is in no way affected.”

“Bacon brings its own specific demands in terms of slicing and we have undertaken extensive trials before bringing the dual log approach to the market. You only get one chance at making a first impression and we felt it was vital not to rush the technology to market prematurely.”

“The technology for multi-track scanning has been available for some time and we had the throat capacity but we needed to make sure the control system in no way compromised performance when moving into twin log slicing. In slicing two bacon primals simultaneously, we deliver everything that we did when slicing just one and that was key for us in deciding to take this to our customers. It’s always better to do your homework first as Weber have always been in it for the long haul.”

With higher in-line volumes, the requirement increases for loading solutions and Weber can offer a number of loading options, but most suited to bacon is Weber’s established, in-house, pick and place technology. Portions are visually spotted prior to loading so regardless of whether the portion has twisted slightly or moved through transport, the picker picks the portion in its actual position and then delivers and loads to the fixed position of the packaging machine. The picker can also rotate the portion through 90° so that a packaging machine which has a pack orientation that differs to that of the slicer can still be loaded, a common occurrence in bacon slicing.

Rob concludes – “Weber has always been recognised for its innovative approach to slicing but it is an approach which has never sacrificed performance. We have worked with Weber for many years and we know it is all about understanding your market to ensure that any innovation only enhances a slicer’s capabilities and takes nothing away.”

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