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Thread: Automated lamb boning - video

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    Jon
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    Automated lamb boning - video

    Automated lamb boning system. A common response to this video is a Luddite complaint about automation "taking our jobs". Seeing the complexity of the factory here, I am forced to consider how many well-paying jobs were created to engineer, build, and maintain this equipment.



    More: https://www.scottautomation.com

    Previously:

    hamburger bun manufacturing defect detection GIF
    Croissant sorting robot

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    I used to design and build meat processing equipment, but this is over the top! Just the research & development associated with this system must have been astronomical. Every working person today needs a good education and several different skills or they may go the way of the dinosaur.

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    Just the cleaning alone will need a host of extra workers. Interesting to note that the Robot arm doing the band saw work will not need an automatic blade stop device to protect itself, unlike the human operator version.

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    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moby Duck View Post
    Interesting to note that the Robot arm doing the band saw work will not need an automatic blade stop device to protect itself, unlike the human operator version.
    Good call. I only see a few humans behind caging, probably monitoring. The whole operation looks safe and sanitary.

    Are they X-raying the lamb carcasses and then feeding that X-ray data to CNC machines to determine the cuts? I had no idea this is how it's done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I am forced to consider how many well-paying jobs were created to engineer, build, and maintain this equipment.
    Yes Jon, I even can't figure out how they find a "return on invest" ratio on such an investment.
    Cost of R&D, capex, cost of maintenance, sanitary risks of so much machine/meat contacts, and cost of cleanup (where you will need a lot of humans here).
    And I don't see neither the mass production effect in meat producing ...

    I agree, this is a nice playground for the engineers, I would love to work at designing such machines, but at the end of the day, I prefer to eat meat merely once a week, I purchase my meat to a craftsman butcher who purchases his carcasses to a small farmer, who works in a sustainable way, organic if possible.
    I do believe that the only future is in a sustainable production chain, at all stages, especially if we want to feed the full planet, instead of willing to spread across the world the western, absolutely not sustainable according to me, way of eating.
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    As far as ROI goes, I'm guessing this is a setup in a cooperative in a location where they grow a lot of sheep - perhaps New Zealand or the like. Individual herdsmen bring their carcasses there and have them butchered quickly, safely, and with low waste so they can reach market faster. The equipment is funded by many herdsmen so the expense is spread over a wide user base.
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    Jon
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    I agree that many of the high-tech machinery videos we see could be demos or prototype videos made for web promotional purposes. Especially when the video is so well-produced, carefully-chosen music, etc.

    I poked around a little more; looks like this company is over 100 years old: https://www.scottautomation.com/our-...y/our-history/

    That explains a lot. An old, firmly entrenched, publicly-traded company would be a reasonable candidate to profit from the long-term financing probably necessary for an operation like this.

    Looks like they were even early manufacturers for Whirlpool?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Are they X-raying the lamb carcasses and then feeding that X-ray data to CNC machines to determine the cuts? I had no idea this is how it's done.
    Many sorting and orienting machines do the same using visual spectrum, rather than X-ray, data so it makes sense. It says a lot about the speed of modern computer systems. Of course, it's helped a bit by the fact that it's looking at a single entity, the carcass, always hanging in the same general orientation. Still the amount of data processing and decision-making being done in a second or two is staggering.
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    IMO the only part of this that looks to be time consuming is the periodic sanitation. There's nothing here that needed to be invented. Technically speaking, this thing was built with off the shelf parts. The only proprietary invention, or intellectual property that I can see would be the g-code running the computers, everything else is pretty much LEGO parts and a few custom bent stainless steel rods.

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    Yes the Xrays do that and it is fully automatic.
    Some more interesting viewing on these links below. The Australian testimonial link shows that there are still lots of people employed on the line. Payback time is 16 months for a plant that processes 750,000 carcasses (per year I presume).
    I can find nothing on how the plant is cleaned but there is another clip on the Scott website showing the knife entering a box to be steam cleaned after every cut.

    https://www.popsci.com/technology/ar...ed-lamb-boning
    https://www.scottautomation.com/news...imonial-video/
    https://www.scottautomation.com/asse...re-English.pdf

    There are some cooperative meat processing plants in NZ but most are owned by private companies. Farmers pay to transport their sheep to the Works and pay for them to be killed, inspected and processed, and are then paid by weigh at the end of the process. Farmers do not necessarily send their animals to the nearest meat works. There is competition between meat works, and they will consider prices being offered, transport costs, killing costs etc, and send their animals to the works likely to give them the best return. Sometimes this means that instead of transporting their stock 20 miles to the nearest meat works, they will transport them 100 miles for a better return. For example the return to the farmer from a sheep worth $150 will be $150 less transport, less killing and processing costs, less rejected failed inspection carcasses, less downgraded costs (too much fat etc), and the farmer gets what is left over. It is not a particularly good system for the farmer. Sheep/Lamb killing is seasonal and only lasts about 6 months then the workers become unemployed. They have special tax rates and welfare payments to cover this downtime. Incidentally I understand that around 90% of the sheep meat killed in NZ is is done with modern equipment but under Halal supervision because the markets demand it. Us ordinary infidels get to eat it whether we approve of it or not. I am fairly certain that meat cut on these chains goes to the export market. It is common to get band sawed lamb on the NZ market that looks like it has been attacked by an axe murderer.

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