$10.6 million investment in new robotic technology at Alliance Dannevirke

Primal cutter

Alliance Group is to invest $10.6 million in advanced technology at its Dannevirke plant as the company focuses on exploring innovations in the way it processes livestock.

The 100 percent New Zealand farmer-owned cooperative will install new robotic primal/middle cutting machinery and re-configure the boning room of the plant in the southern Hawke’s Bay.

The changes are part of Alliance Group’s Manufacturing Excellence programme and will build on the improving operational performance within the cooperative.

David Surveyor, chief executive of Alliance Group, says the technology will result in higher product yields and enhanced productivity.

“This investment in the cutting-edge technology is part of Alliance Group’s strategy to boost returns to New Zealand farmer shareholders by lifting the efficiency of meat processing.

“Advancements within production, combined with our planning solutions, is enabling highly efficient production runs, which is vital to making gains in processing.

“This is another significant investment by Alliance Group and underlines how serious we are about achieving processing excellence.

“This technology is also more advanced than any other system in New Zealand and will ensure we can deliver greater accuracy, better yields and minimise waste.”

The custom-built primal/middle cutting technology features an x-ray unit which analyses each carcase and instructs the two cutting machines where to cut.  The robotic primal cutting machine then separates the carcase into hind, middles and forequarter cuts. A robot middles cutting machine then separates middles into racks, loin, flap or saddle.

The primal cutter automatically adjusts to a wide variation in carcase size.

Circular cutting blades rather than band-saws also results in improved hygiene, less strain for workers and better health and safety, which is a key priority for the co-operative, says Surveyor.

The same technology is already in place at the company’s Smithfield (Timaru) and Pukeuri (Oamaru) plants.

The boning rooms at Alliance Dannevirke will also be reconfigured to allow a streamlined operation that allows improved operator performance and yield.

“We have learned a lot from the primal cutters at Smithfield and Pukeuri, which has led us to re-configure the boning rooms at Dannevirke and this promises to deliver even greater benefits,” he says.

“This investment fits with our vision to lift the performance and productivity of our plants and reflects our commitment to remaining the leader in New Zealand red meat production.

“The investment is also good news for the Dannevirke community and our farmer shareholders in the region. The plant is a vital part of our business and we’re pleased with the operational performance. The hard-working team and our farmer shareholders deserve a lot of credit for this success.”

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