Processing

Kilcoy breaks ground with AI-driven robotic beef carcase scribing technology + VIDEO

Beef Central, 27/10/2023

 

A GROUND-BREAKING robotic scribe carcase cutting technology has been developed that its backers say will improve the meat processing industry’s accuracy, yield, labour efficiency and safety.

Queensland-based Kilcoy Global Foods together with the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and artificial intelligence experts Intelligent Robotics are behind the new AI-driven technology – the first automated beef scribing system in Australia.

The IR-SCRIBE technology installed at the KGF plant north of Brisbane will now be trialled over a 12-month period to determine whether it can achieve the necessary performance benchmarks, at chain operation speed.

Automated AI driven carcase scribing has been in use in the lamb industry for some time, but this is the first developed specifically for beef.

The robotic scribing system works on sides of beef post-chilling, prior to entering the boning room. Four key cuts are made to define optimum cube-roll separation points at the fifth/sixth and tenth/eleventh rib sites, and also the vertical chuckrib and shortrib cutting lines.

The work allows the boner to insert his or her knife in the precise location to optimise primal cuts yields.

Before cutting begins, each side of beef passes before a series of imaging and 3D cameras. Vision processing and AI then identify the key features of interest on the carcase, which define where the robots need to make their incisions. The first robot performers the two spine cuts, before the cameras measure again before the second cuts are made, to maintain millimetre-accuracy.

The whole process can be seen in this embedded video.

After embarking on a transformative journey over a decade ago focused on improving efficiencies and safety across its facilities, Kilcoy Global Foods has taken this latest step towards sustainable meat production.

KGF Australia president Jiah Falcke said Kilcoy had some of the best boners in the country, but there was always a fatigue factor, and it was a tough job.

“We’re finding ways, like this, to work smarter,” he said.

The robotic scribing using 3D cameras, vision processing, imaging cameras and AI tasks to find where each cut needs to be made was critical for boning room success – giving boners the right pattern to follow, to optimise carcase yields.

“We’ve built our reputation on 70 years of exceptional quality in fabrication, and this technology pushes that a step further,” Mr Falcke said.

“It will give us the accuracy we need from a yield perspective, product specifications, and product consistency,” he said.

“Our customers will open a carton and notice the difference.”

Australian Meat Processor Corporation chief executive Chris Taylor said the benefits from the technology included improving yields, greater consistency in scribing operations and most importantly, assisting worker safety.

“We are upbeat about this investment, which could deliver significant returns to the processing industry and look forward to seeing the results,” Mr Taylor said.

Intelligent Robotics electrical engineering manager Jonathan Cook said his company was passionate about engineering novel solutions to add value and improve safety.

“It’s exciting to see all the hard work come together in bringing the IR-SCRIBE system to life at Kilcoy’s processing plant,” he said.

“This project will open doors for other AI opportunities and will start to show us what’s possible, with a lot of this tech and concepts to be utilised elsewhere too – not just for beef, but for lamb too,” KGF’s Jiah Falcke said.

Following a $120 million upgrade in 2018, KGF’s primary processing facility at Kilcoy, north of Brisbane, is regarded as one of the most modern meat processing plants in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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