WORLD LEADING DANISH ABATTOIR TECHNOLOGY
ABATTOIR ROBOTS: Tican pig abattoir has developed its own special robot which saves 12 men heavy lifting work
Previously there were 12 abattoir workers who collectively lifted around 140 tons of pig carcasses on a daily basis. Three men at a time lifted the front ends of the pigs from the belt onto what is nicknamed ’the Christmas tree’ – a rod with upward turned spikes – after which the loaded tree enters the processing chain.
Later the lifting work was eased: Instead of carrying a heavy weight all the way from the belt to the Christmas tree, the belt continued all the way to the tree, which then automatically adjusted the height. Now the three men only needed to do a small lift, and impale the front end onto the hook of the Christmas tree. But it was still demanding work.
140 tons a day
Tican, a co-operative abattoir in Thisted, Denmark, has now revolutionised that part of its abattoir work. In collaboration with two other companies in the food technology industry, Tican has developed a robot which has taken over the heavy lifting work. From constantly having three men dealing with the task, today only one man is needed – to control the robot.
“Every day we slaughter around 6,500 pigs and that gives around 13,000 front ends, each with a weight of 10-12 kilos representing a daily lifting task of about 140 tons,” says production director Torben Kock of Tican a.m.b.a. “That part of the abattoir work has traditionally been the heaviest and most repetitive. And although naturally it was not the same men who lifted all the time, it was still highly demanding work, both physically and mentally because it requires strength and concentration.”
The development of the new robots took 18 months, and Tican has installed three of them. The robot technology is well-known, but it has been customized for this special lifting task. The abattoir contributed with the practical experience, Tano Food with the technology, and Højgaard Maskiner A/S with the production of machinery and installation.
The robots have also provided an unexpected spin-off benefit which can save money in the long term. The front ends of the pigs were often very stiff and difficult-to-handle when they reached the cutting area. Because of that, each front end was previously run through a ’massage-device’ which softened the pork. With the new robots, the entire front end is subjected to enormous pressure during the lift, which eliminates the need for the softening massage.
Tican is the largest of the small abattoirs, with a 7.5% share of the Danish market. It has about 650 co-operative members who are all located in the northern part of Jutland.
This page forms part of the publication 'FOCUS Denmark' as chapter 15 of 24
Version 1. 07-11-2006
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