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Robotic cell for beef carcass primal cutting and pork ham boning in meat industry

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Purpose ‐ The mechanization of the meat cutting companies has become essential. This paper aims to study the feasibility of cutting operations for beef and boning operations for pork ham. The study aims to enhance industrial robots application by using vision or force control. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper opted for an industrial robot-based cell. The first part of this paper focuses on in-depth study of operators' expertise, so as to translate their actions into automatable operative tasks and to identify the constraints of robotization. It details more particularly a cutting strategy using a bone as a guide which shows the complexity of the process. The analysis of the cutting and task constraint parameters involves the use of a kinematically redundant robotized cell with force control. Then the cell model is developed, and experimentation is performed. Findings ‐ The paper explains how to solve the problem of the high variability of the size for beef carcass. It gives several ideas to realize the boning of pork ham. It develops the strategies, the sensors and the cell architecture to make this type of operations. Research limitations/implications ‐ Because of the choice of an existing industrial robot, the tool paths with force control are limited. Therefore, new force control instructions have to be developed to continue this work on more complicated operations. Practical implications ‐ This study was carried out within the framework of the SRDViand project in cooperation with meat industry partners. Originality/value ‐ The paper fulfils an identified need to study the beef quartering which is a high-variability operation and ham deboning which is a high precision operation.
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Keywords: Control technology; Food industry; Manufacturing equipment; Robotics meat

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 19, 2010

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