A new Meet+Poultry magazine article talks about how Laitram is revolutionizing the nuggets sorting process with the SMART Sorter.
The demand for high-quality whole chicken breast nuggets has grown in recent years. However, this demand for a premium product poses a significant issue as manual inspection of nuggets is costly and inconsistent and can lead to a high volume of whole meat nuggets being sold as trim, resulting in a loss of revenue.
The Chicken Nugget SMART Sorter is not your average grader; it automatically singulates, inspects, and sorts each nugget using laser imaging and computer algorithms matched to your customer’s specifications.
A key difference from other technologies is the effective rate of throughput. Nuggets and trim are processed at 4,200 lbs./hr. Simply bulk feed nuggets and trim into the SMART Sorter to recover 25% to 35% of in-spec nuggets from trim. Depending on volume, the result is $1.2M to $4.5M of incremental revenue.
THE PROBLEMS WITH MANUAL LABOR
Laitram collaborated with the industry on a sorting project and identified two opportunities: significant labor savings and increasing the percentage of good nuggets in the trim recovery process.
The poultry industry depends on human labor to visually inspect and size each nugget; the result is a process that is expensive, low quality, and inconsistent. This can leave high-value nuggets on lower-cost trim, sending 25% to 35% of high-value nuggets to a lower-priced trim and requires a significant workforce (conservative average of 82 people in two shifts) that poses various challenges for poultry processors, including high turnover, absenteeism, subjectivity, and increased labor costs.
THE ADVANTAGES OF AUTOMATION WITH THE SMART SORTER
Automating the chicken nuggets means sending Nuggets and trim to the SMART SORTER directly from your portioning machine.
• Precision: The Smart Sorter grading system can accurately recover more than 30% of in-spec nuggets from trim.
• Reduced Labor Costs: Automate Nugget sorting and substitute conservative 26 people for two shifts, leading to cost savings and less reliance on human labor.
• Objectivity: The SMART Sorter is not influenced by personal bias, fatigue, or boredom. It provides consistent, objective grading results.
• Real-time-processing reporting: Innovative digital reporting features to drive plant optimization and eliminate/reduce QC labor needs, share complete digital reports with customers, reducing the need for customer audits.