ANZCO’s $10m automated cutting equipment project at its Rangitikei sheepmeat processing site has been completed on time with the site coming in to full production.
The investment features an x-ray machine which works with automated cutting equipment improving yield by allowing a very high level of accuracy to cut and reducing health and safety risks, explains Darryl Tones, ANZCO general manager processing.
The automated cutting equipment replaces five bandsaws and removes the four-quarter and leg and debones the full middle ensuring precise cutting to the exact specifications of each carcase.
“The increased yield comes from improved accuracy which will have a positive financial impact,” says Tones. “For example, the value of an extra five millimetre on French racks compared to it being on the flap is substantial.”
ANZCO took an innovative approach to the installation of the new equipment which almost halved the usual installation time and enabled the site to keep operating throughout the project.
“Because the site kept operating, if we found anything wasn’t working correctly we were able to revert to the old process so there wasn’t any impact on production,” he explains.
ANZCO worked closely with the equipment provider Scott Technology which also helped with the smooth installation.
“Two of our engineers worked at Scott Technology in Dunedin and the Rangitikei team worked closely with the employees who use the equipment including building a life-sized model to ensure everything worked as it should and refining ideas.”
No one lost their jobs as a result of the new equipment, with the bandsaw operators being integrated into the wider processing team.
ANZCO built the Rangitikei sheep processing site in 2005. It employs around 400 people and has an annual processing capacity of one million sheep/lambs.
ANZCO Rangitikei directly contributes more than $128m to the local economy each year through wages, salaries and farmer and supplier payments, the company says. The economic contribution has been further enhanced with 40 percent of the $10m project cost being spent on a range of local service providers working on the project and equipment installation and 60 percent comprising the new equipment.
ANZCO is one of New Zealand’s largest meat exporting companies with an annual turnover of $1.45 billion and employs nearly 3,000 employees globally.