A Robust, Flexible and Scalable Cognitive Robotics Platform
RoBUTCHER a European funded H2020 innovation project that aims to replace the conventional line production in abattoirs, with parallel production in autonomous «meat factory cells».
Meat factory cell
A meat factory cell contains robots that lift, hold, cut and debone the carcass, enabling distribution of primal cuts from these autonomous cells. In daily operation the human- operator will only monitor the process and there will be no need for human interaction with the robots. Human intervention must still be an option to handle abnormal situations.
Today’s abattoirs use a «disassembly line» approach. Carcasses are processed as they move along a rail or conveyor, with personnel or machines performing limited serial operations within a short time window. In contrast, meat factory cells utilise intelligent systems to increase the capabilities of robots to perform more complex and varied operations. The use of meat factory cells working in parallel offers robustness against equipment failure, scalability to different production volumes and flexibility to adjust to demand – when you need more capacity, you can have more cells running.
Some the main benefits of replacing the conventional line with a meat factory cell is:
- Working environment: Improved working environment with less repetitive tasks, less heavy lifting and reduce the risk associated with widespread use of cutting instruments.
- Yield: Standardisation in slaughter, handling and cutting will lead to improved yields from the raw material, resulting in less waste material and higher quality products.
- Hygiene: Improved processes and removing operators from direct contact with the raw material during slaughter will reduce the likelihood of contamination.
In the RoBUTCHER concept the robotic system will be able to understand and plan cutting trajectories based on the carcass that is presented. To achieve this it will use a combination of detailed computed tomography (CT) data, real-time 3D imagery and human-expert cutting data for neural network training toward cutting trajectory planning.
The fixation with line production in the meat sector has meant that automation solutions, particularly for slaughter, cutting or deboning processes, require big investments and are only accessible to the very largest of meat producers. The RoBUTCHER concept aims for smaller producers to be able to automate their production more cost effectively than is possible today.
For any question about the project, contact: Alex Mason, RoBUTCHER Project Co-ordinator, +47 917 49 792