RoboOptimizer for laborless consistent portioning

Marel’s new RoboOptimizer aims to eliminate the challenging and labor-intensive task of loading a portion cutter. It precisely aligns each individual fillet to its optimal position, ensuring the highest quality end product. The RoboOptimizer is an intelligent piece of positioning equipment that communicates directly with the I-Cut 122 portion cutter. Together with this portioner, RoboOptimizer forms a foolproof, fully automatic system once it receives singulated fillets on the belt. The software and equipment will not only do the desired portioning job but also take control of further downstream processes.

Posted on Mar 28 ,00:05

RoboOptimizer for laborless consistent portioning

Until now, processors had to rely on human operators to position chicken fillets on the belt, thereby determining the end product’s quality. A wrongly placed fillet would lead to a bad quality end product. Achieving consistently good results, however, proved nearly impossible for humans. RoboOptimizer addresses this issue by organizing the products on the belt, ensuring precise and traceable positioning for the portion cutter. With its superfast gripper, RoboOptimizer restores order to the random positioning of products, even on two different belts, achieving a speed of up to 120 fillets per minute.

Morten Dalqvist, Marel Product Specialist, says, "With RoboOptimizer, we really step away from labor. If the products are singulated, portion cutting can now be done without staff. The system will do the job with much more consistency and accuracy than people could ever do. The operator who loads breast caps into the deboning system could potentially be the last person to touch the meat. RoboOptimizer comes as close to a labor-free solution as possible."

RoboOptimizer features an advanced laser vision system. It scans the entire 800 mm wide conveyor belt, detecting multiple products simultaneously. It measures the length and the width of each fillet and also identifies left and right fillets, which is a patented solution. This is important, because if the portion cutter starts cutting strips at the wrong end, the fibers are destroyed and the strip will be stretched out in the tumbling process.

Morten Dalqvist continues, “Optimizing the angle of each individual fillet can give a significantly better yield for strips. There are fewer off-cuts because we can optimize the right strip length all the time. Before, we used to cut a fixed trim of a certain size to ensure that the first strip met the requirements. By using the RoboOptimizer, we can reduce this trim to a minimum and still ensure the correct strip length. This eventually increases the overall yield.”

Another strong point of RoboOptimizer is that it skips loose trimmings, faulty products and products that are too close to each other. Such products reach the end of the belt without being sent to the portion cutter at all, because this would only clutter the process. This Marel selection technique is patented.

RoboOptimizer and I-Cut can create a great variety of products, by making use of every part of the fillet. “We can separate the tail and make cubes out of it, while the fillet itself will become a chicken burger. That’s because we can control every individual fillet and find its best application.” RoboOptimizer also features strip-optimizing software. Each uniquely shaped fillet is analyzed to determine the optimal orientation for creating strips of precise length. If you want to make a QSR strip, the fillet will be angled in a certain way. A bigger fillet will be angled differently to prevent strips from becoming too long. Everything is under complete control, which results in considerable yield improvements as well as much higher product quality.

Any factory with labor-dependent styling in front of a portion cutter will benefit from the RoboOptimizer set-up. For sure all QSR applications, but also food service and some retail-oriented processors. Quite simply, wherever operators are putting products in a certain angle to load a portion cutter. The RoboOptimizer/I-Cut solution sets a new benchmark and takes away all portion cutter loading problems. Moreover, it offers downstream control, integrating trimming reject, TrimSort, SpeedSort, and conveying solutions to route products to their destinations. And to top it off, all of this needs no labor at all.

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