Processing

Red Meat R&D: Virtual reality training for red meat processing – from R&D to commercial adoption

Beef Central, 25/11/2022

WELCOME to the regular series of articles focusing on red meat R&D, presented by Beef Central and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation. These items highlight a range of projects designed to enhance the efficiency, productivity, product quality and safety of Australian red meat sold into the domestic market and around the world.

All have the ability to help underpin Australia’s unrivalled reputation as the world’s premier export of quality beef, lamb and offal. Links to previous articles in the series appear below.

 

VIRTUAL reality training is being commercialised for red meat processors.

The Australian Meat Processor Corporation’s strategic investment into virtual reality training for red meat processors has resulted in it being made commercially available. Virtual reality training provider, Virtually There, has sold its first modules to Task Labour for their use in training employees to work in red meat processing plants in Australia.

The training works by putting on a headset which gives the user the real-life view of a carcase or packing line. If using the scribing module the user then takes a virtual saw in their hand and cuts what they see. The immersive simulations integrate highly realistic environments with sound and real-life objects to create relevant experiential learning experiences.

AMPC chief executive Chris Taylor said this was exactly why the corporation did research and development.

“We want meat processing plants to adopt our solutions. Our research is strategic and benefits all Australian red meat processors and this is a great example of commercial adoption,” Mr Taylor said.

Virtually There Director Sean Cunial said the training will initially be used in the recruitment process with Task Labour.

“Candidates selected by Task Labour will participate in the immersive training with Virtually There’s system capturing the trainees completion and performance data for each session.”

Task Labour CEO Nathan Buckley said, “We will be using the training for recruitment and onboarding purposes and are working directly with a red meat processing plant to do this.

“For recruitment, we will monitor the data from training in things like scribing and meat cut recognition and ensure that candidates develop the right skills before recruiting them to work in Australian red meat processing plants.

“Initially we will be using the training in the Taiwan market who are a major supplier to red meat processing plants within Australia. I want to use it to break down the taboos about working in red meat processing and to shake things up after COVID now that borders are open.

“We want to get pipelines up and running again as we need these skills in Australia. Ensuring candidates can do the job before travelling to Australia is a game changer. I can now guarantee to a client that candidates recognise all the cuts and have performed the tasks virtually. I can say that the candidate can effectively pick and pack.

“We are looking forward to launching the VR training in Taiwan in early December.”

“I also see opportunities for the future. If red meat processing employees already know the VR system, when new training comes, they will already be familiar with it.”

Virtually There is also working on two pilots with two other red meat processing plants.

AMPC funded ten modules across scribing, picking and packing, and maintenance (proof of concept) as part of a strategic research and development investment. The modules have been promoted at various events such as Beef Week in Rockhampton and the recent AMPC Innovation Showcase in Melbourne.  Interest from processors was high leading to momentum behind the initiative.

Mr Cunial said AMPC saw the reaction from industry and so facilitated getting his company into plants and meeting relevant stakeholders.

“I travelled to different processing plants across Australia over the past 12 months to demonstrate the solution and it was a big success. We couldn’t have done it without AMPC. They enabled us to work with processing plants for new content as well as providing access to the plants so that we could scan meat cuts and carcases to make the training as life like as possible.”

Currently there are five meat processing modules available. Each of the links below provide an example of what the training looks like:

 

 

 Previous articles in this series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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