Danish Crown investment in robots to remove heavy lifting at slaughterhouses
With the help of a newly developed robot that is currently being tested at the slaughterhouse in Blans, this task no longer burdens the employees at the South Jutland slaughterhouse. The robot can handle all parts of the pig in both dismantling and hanging, so that the employees do not have to make the many heavy lifts. The plan is for similar robots to be installed at all Danish Crown's Danish pig slaughterhouses by 2026 - an investment of a three-digit million amount.
"It is a focus area to eliminate the heaviest lifts. We want to help the employees and ensure that Danish Crown is a good and interesting place to work. The robots are an epoch-making shift in terms of working with complex automation. The development of this robot system is something that really beats and that can move something across our slaughterhouses," says Henrik Andersen, technical director of Danish Crown.
Danish Crown has a goal that the most stressed workplaces must be a thing of the past in the Danish workplaces by 2026. These are tasks such as the dismantling and hanging of pieces that are heavy, repetitive work.
"The slaughterhouse industry continues to work very hard. Therefore, we have a huge responsibility to reduce, and in the long run completely eliminate, the physically grueling work tasks at the slaughterhouses. We must be able to offer jobs that can take care of an entire working life without being worn down. The new robot is a big step in the right direction because it removes many of the heavy lifts that put a heavy strain on the shoulders and elbows in particular," says Rikke Dencher Aagaard, director of environment and working environment at Danish Crown, who also points out that castling between tasks at slaughterhouses is an important tool in minimizing heavy lifting.
"The robot system alone is a quantum leap in automation in the Danish food industry, but it is also a bit of a quantum leap that we as a production company are now able to develop advanced systems like this. We can be proud of that," says Henrik Andersen, who adds that the handling of biological material makes the development of robots more complex. In comparison, it is easier to make robots that have to move beer bottles, as the bottles are exactly the same, while meat and food can vary in size, weight and design.
In Blans, engineers from Danish Crown have worked and tested the robots that will relieve employees in production. Here, work is done with 15 kilos heavy pieces that must be taken down or hung up. This is done on racks, which due to their appearance in everyday life are called "Christmas trees". The promises are some of the heaviest at the slaughterhouses. The robot, which has been developed at Danish Crown, is responsible for both hanging and dismantling and thus removes the promises from the employees. One robot arm takes the pieces down from the "Christmas tree" and places them on the belt, while another robot arm lifts the pieces up on a rolling stand.
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