Automated Robotic Beef Rib Cutting System

May 8, 2017

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.

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