Automated Robotic Beef Rib Cutting System

Automated Robotic Beef Rib Cutting System

Beef Rib Cutting is the first point at which yield can be lost during the boning process and also poses a large risk of personal injuries or amputations to operators.

The Automated Robotic Beef Rib Cutting system is a first of its kind, eliminating all key risks to employee Workplace Health & Safety and is capable of operating at line speeds of 520 sides per hour.

The Automated Robotic Beef Rib Cutting system uses a combination 3D scanners, x-ray and colour cameras. The 3-D scanner is used to scan the carcase and assist in cut placement and transforms the vision processing results for the robot to perform the cut. A colour camera is also used to identify a point of interest on the carcase to help determine the correct cut location. Finally a circular saw is mounted to the end of a robot to enable the cuts to be performed on the carcase
Beef rib cutting is a typical case where current manual tasks can be replicated by an automated system. The major benefits of this automation are increased yield and the positive impact on critical industry OH&S issues.

The requirements of the automated system are to:

  • Stabilise the carcass;
  • Scan the carcass with all required sensing technologies;
  • Process the sensing data to identify the start and end points of each cut;
  • Communicate this cut data to a robot which will perform the cut using a beef cutting tool;
  • Cut through the designated ribs without damaging underlying muscles;
  • Identify carcasses by grade to ensure specification compliance and maximum yield achievement at maximum speed;
  • Operate at chain speeds up to 520 sides per hour moving into the system;
  • Be able to deal appropriately with chain stoppages.

Summarised benefits:

  • Labour Reduction – 2 operators per working shift
  • Line Speed – 520 beef sides/hour
  • OH&S – elimination of dangerous manual operations
  • Productivity – ensures improved cut surface finish compared to manual operations
  • Efficiencies – accuracy of cuts reduce need for rework
  • Yield Gain – consistent accuracy of cuts provide significant yield gain
  • Hygiene – reduced contamination compared to manual operations


Scott Automation and Robotics will be showcasing this and many other machines at Stand E9 Level 4 at foodpro 2017.