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Techniques for Increasing Production Yield in the Meat Industry

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By Emilie A Lachance - December 23, 2019

Managing production yields in the meat processing industry is critical for both maintaining a high-performance operation and delivering excellent margins. Today, across the meat industry landscape, producers are finding opportunities to reduce costs through improved yields. They are identifying hidden opportunities in ordinary everyday activities through careful analysis and study. 

Improving Production Yield Begins with Raw Material Control

Sending defective raw material into production results in several losses that should be avoided. Time and labor may be added to an unusable product before the defect is found. Using well-designed raw material receiving, handling, and storage procedures helps improve production yields by preventing defective product from entering the production workstream. Some primary areas to study include: 

  • Procedures for receiving incoming raw materials: Effective procedures help ensure that only in-spec materials are stocked in raw material inventory.
  • Inventory management systems: A well-thought-out inventory management system should result in rapid inventory turnover essential to reductions in spoilage and damage. Location control, storage methods, and material handling are critical to ensuring products remain fresh and are available to production when needed. 
  • Floor waste: This waste often results from improper handling techniques, mis-cuts, and over- and underfilling. These losses can be improved through employee training. Also, correct environmental controls—such as maintaining proper warehouse temperatures, cooking times, or vat temperatures—help prevent out-of-spec products.

Analyze Processing, Handling, WIP, and Scrap Procedures

Every step in the process, from material receipt to goods shipment, offers possibilities for improving production yields. Applying the concepts of lean manufacturing means eliminating defects in every part of the plant. Target the following areas for analysis:

Employee Training

Ensure all employees are correctly trained. In-depth training is especially necessary for hand-cutting operations such as breaking down sub-primal cuts during portion control production. Employees should also be trained in correct equipment control settings for run speeds, temperatures, fill rates, and other process steps.  

Machine Monitoring

Use a machine monitoring system to maintain consistent process controls to identify out-of-spec operating conditions. Monitoring systems utilize data collection sensors attached to equipment. These sensors collect operating data, which is transmitted wirelessly to analysis software to produce real-time performance metrics. The results are then displayed on monitors located around the factory.   

Worximity Inc. is a leading supplier of Smart Factory analytics hardware and software to the food industry. Worximity’s suite of technologically advanced products, sensors capture real-time operating data at each step in the process. Utilizing Worximity’s proprietary sensors or Smart Sensor TileConnect devices, data such as setpoints, temperatures, weights, flows, and run speeds are gathered and transmitted to our Smart Factory analytics software. Any process step that drifts outside its control limits will flash an alert instantly on Worximity’s factory floor dashboard or TileBoard. 

Voltigeurs Farm was able to increase productivity by 15 percent by using Worximity TileBoard Software. This poultry plant has a variety of production lines, and within a few months of having real-time metrics available, the factory showed significant results from the monitoring. In just over a year, the poultry plant saw decreased downtimes, which resulted in decreased costs. To learn more about machine monitoring with Worximity, visit us online here

Properly trained operators monitor TileBoards’ real-time metrics to watch for deviations from control limits. Significant near-term yield improvement can result from the use of Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics. Performance measures such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), production volumes, and quality reflect the impact of production yield improvements as changes are implemented. 

Process Control Limits

Review all control limits to see if they can be changed without impacting customer value. Limits set too tight may result in acceptable products being rejected, whereas limits that are too loose may allow defective products to pass. Adjusting the control limits can increase your likelihood of accepting only products of the correct quality. Worximity can help using our “giveaway” monitoring tool

Production Scheduling and Line Balancing

Improper line balances can create material surges, process stoppages, and yield loss. Based on booked and projected customer demand, ensure production lines are balanced and flow rates are optimized to avoid both stoppages and work-in-process inventory build-ups. Both line speeds and control limits can be controlled using data from equipment monitoring. Reducing yield loss along the process flow will result in overall improved plant performance.

Production Yield

Production is lost every time equipment fails and causes a halt in product flow. Significant improvements in throughput can be obtained by reducing downtime caused by unplanned maintenance. Techniques for preventative maintenance, quicker changeovers, and improved equipment monitoring increases available production time. Increasing throughput helps manage schedule attainment, improve performance, and reduce costs. 

Find Ways to Control Losses in Product Packaging Operations

Product packaging constitutes a significant portion of total product costs. Product loss during packaging can be reduced by improving sanitation, carefully managing packaging equipment, and controlling temperature and humidity.  

Improving yields in a meat processing plant involves analyzing all steps in the manufacturing process. Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics provide a real-time, ongoing picture of factory performance. Any deterioration in performance shows up on the TileBoard and should initiate actions to correct the problem before yields suffer. Connect with Worximity today to schedule a free demo and see what Worximity can do for your business.

 

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The Worximity Smart Food Factory solution is a low-cost hardware system that can be up and running in a few hours combined with an easy and intuitive yet powerful analytics dashboard that provides fast ROI to start and a roadmap to full-on IIoT success.

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