Marel: ProFlow software aligns breast meat with orders

The challenges faced by today’s poultry processors when scheduling and executing orders can be summed up as the need to fulfill orders real-time in a timely fashion, which often involve a large number to be assembled simultaneously. Some orders can be scheduled reasonably in advance but customers can also place orders that must be ready the next day. Marel Process Technologist Wouter Lommerse explains how Innova ProFlow Breast Meat software can help with the management of orders for breast meat.

Posted on Apr 26 ,00:05

Marel: ProFlow software aligns breast meat with orders

Processors have to deal with an increasing diversity of incoming chicken types from standard broilers to local breeds and organic chicken. End products are also becoming more diverse and include not just breast fillets but also calibrated fillets, schnitzels, strips and cubes. The fact that certain orders can only be produced from specific flocks makes it even harder to match incoming chicken to the end products required. Wouter Lommerse says, “Innova ProFlow Breast Meat software makes the most of raw material, bringing the right product to the best destination with the highest value.”

While the processor knows well in advance what type of chicken he will be getting, customer orders are typically known shortly before production. Wouter Lommerse says, "What orders to produce in what quantities often becomes clear relatively late. Sometimes this happens on the day the order is due. When processors are asked to deliver on time, even at the last minute, it becomes difficult to prioritize production processes. This is where Innova Proflow Breast Meat software comes in, making demand-driven order fulfillment simple.

Innova ProFlow Breast Meat software has been designed to optimize the distribution of products available real-time, ensuring a welladjusted match with current order intake. Combined with IRIS FI and SystemFlex Distributors, it enables breast meat to be processed fully in-line and virtually eliminates the need for any manual intervention in the production process. With Proflow, products are in principle not touched by human hands all the way from filleting to packing.

Wouter Lommerse continues, "Innova ProFlow Breast Meat gives central control over the entire breast meat processing line. It is operated entirely from the control room, where production managers enter orders on a computer screen. ProFlow controls the Distributors, automatically adjusting distribution of products available to the order intake. ProFlow also takes care of the adjustment of machines in the breast meat processing line, such as the I-Cut 122 portion cutter. This saves labor, as no longer does anyone need to go down on the factory floor to set machines manually.

A line controlled by ProFlow starts at the first data collection point directly after the filleting machine. Usually, this data point is a SensorX or M-weigher that generates a unique identifier for the product and stores its weight as the product passes. This information is sent to ProFlow to track the product from start to finish. Product sensors on the belt, together with sensors in IRIS FI, keep constant track of the product’s position on the conveyor belt, while at the same time adding information to the product’s dataset, such as product quality.

Once it has gathered all product data, ProFlow converts this data into actions. It controls the Distributors, where ProFlow makes decisions on where each product should go to ensure the best possible match of products available to outstanding orders. The Distributors then feed various end-of-line systems like graders, RoboBatchers or bulk stations. This way of working optimizes product value. It is also possible to add an I-Cut to the line before the Distributors. ProFlow can then control this portion cutter to create the optimal input product for each end-of-line system.

Innova ProFlow Breast Meat software can handle multiple orders simultaneously. Fillets from different filleting lines can feed one order. A single fillet can also be used to make up two orders. If heavy fillets are cut into a calibrated fillet and strips, the resulting products can be divided over two orders. Fillets proceed to the RoboBatcher where they are packed on trays for sale in supermarkets, while the strips go for a bulk order.

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