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Automated chicken processing: machine vision and water-jet cutting for optimized performance

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1 Author(s)

Deboned chicken, especially breast meat, is a fast-growing segment of the poultry industry. This trend has placed new challenges on automation in poultry plants for deboning and portioning pieces of meat. In particular, poultry processors are looking for ways to maximize their profits by efficiently using each piece of deboned meat. Automating the portioning and cutting processes is challenging due to variations in thickness, shape, size, and positions of defects. Moreover, the equipment must tolerate the harsh environment in the plant such as cold temperatures, debris from the portioning process, and daily washing of the equipment. This paper presents the DSI Accura portioning system, made by FMC FoodTech. This portioning system uses high-speed image processing and automated water jets to cut chicken fillets into portions, nuggets, and strips of specified sizes and shapes. The system takes images of fillets moving on a conveyor belt and, for each fillet, determines an optimal pattern for the cuts. The cuts are made by focused water jets. These machines have four basic algorithmic tasks: imaging, portioning, path planning for the cutters, and control loops.

Published in:

Control Systems, IEEE  (Volume:26 ,  Issue: 3 )