AGRO Merchants Pedricktown just implemented a new automated solution to de-box and break apart blocks of meat products, thereby mechanizing a service currently done manually and providing a more complete solution to its meat import customers. By introducing this new system, Pedricktown is proactively using its knowledge of customer supply chains and service expectations to identify and provide more value-added services, specifically the need to further integrate supply chain services.
One of the main meat imports into the US is raw manufacture trimmings. This product group is imported because, when combined with fattier grain-fed domestic cattle, it produces a better ground beef mix. However, the combining of these products requires intensive manual work, especially when it comes to opening and de-boxing product. This creates process bottlenecks and limits the volume that the company can handle from customers. The new automated system at Pedricktown will help to overcome this challenge.
The system is simple but effective. In it, 60-pound blocks of meat are placed on an automatic conveyor that flows through an X-ray machine and transports the blocks to an elevated platform that removes the cardboard and exposes the raw meat block. The “naked block” then flows into a low-RPM, high-torque, mechanized meat breaker. This device is specifically designed to “break” the 60-pound block into the original constituent parts while not increasing its surface area. In this form, the product then can be used by customers to make ground meats such as hamburgers, hotdogs, and sausages with less packaging and using a simpler process for efficient production downstream in the cold chain.
Dan Sorbello, managing director of AGRO Merchants Pedricktown, said, “This is a very exciting time for AGRO. De-box, in principle and concept, has been an aspiration for the past decade. It is not only a pioneering endeavour in value-add services for Pedricktown, but it is also a major initiating catalyst for AGRO holistically to increase an enriched campaign in value-stream logistics.”