Automated visual and sensory measurement, sorting and yield estimation for efficient meat production

The project will review and define quality parameters for optimising yield management that may be measured online from slaughter to packing. The sensors would include: vision, specialised optics, contact and force, x-ray and chemical sensors.

The meat chain faces considerable pressure to perform better and to meet consumer needs. Over recent years, consumer requirements have changed significantly where higher quality in fat and lean ratios as well as in appearance and taste are expected. The technologies available today present attractive methods and a scientifically sound basis for measuring and tracing quality parameters from the farm to the point of consumption. These techniques however need to be better developed and integrated into the day-to-day operation of a plant if any real benefits are to be gained. The proposed project will review the state-of-the-art in technology and measurement technology and define quality parameters that may be measured online along the processing line from the slaughter area through to the packing area. The basis of the measurement would include fat, shape and size, colour and tenderness. It is also necessary to measure the distribution of weights between different products that may be produced from a given carcass. Through a detailed work plan, each of the objectives stated above will be met. The sensory methods to be assessed would include: computer vision, specialised optical sensors, contact and force sensors, x-ray techniques, chemical sensors. The project will facilitate the knowledge needed in order to achieve utilisation of the available resources in the value chain and thus production lines will be optimised for yield management through optimisation of production plans based on the overall value chain rather than as a local procedure. The practice of meat production would be assessed in order to define the correct steps in the process where quality measurements should be acquired. There is a need to trace quality information for sorting as well as to define value bands online. The project will be linking and using traceability and information handling techniques to provide a means for the industrial implementation of such approaches. This will also develop the understanding of what can be achieved in practice, which in turn will improve the industry's business. The project is expected to last 24 months and will involve key research organisations, technology companies, meat producers and retailers. The core consortium members have been identified, but others will be joining the project in the proposal development phase. Quality and Traceability are considered the highest priority issues within the meat sector. This proposal is the first to take the initiative to combine technology innovation and user requirements to carry out the required research and development. The results of the research will be available as the project progresses and the organisations involved in the project will implement the results in a commercial capacity. Exploitation is a key goal. Presentations at key international conferences and in journals are expected. The marketing effort will start soon after the project start. It is expected that the time-to market will not exceed 2 years beyond the project period. Keywords: meat, food processing, quality measurement, process control.
Project ID: 
3 447
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
2 700 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Sensors/Multisensor Technology, Instrumentation
Market Area: 
General food products

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.