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Automated evisceration of pig carcasses using 3-dimensional vision and robot cutting systems

The function of the system (developed to a working prototype standard) is to carry out the automatic evisceration of pig carcasses. This is a part of the slaughter line process which has not been automated before.
The technique has the distinct advantage of removing the viscera intact, thus improving hygiene.
The prototype system has been installed in a DMRI establishment in Denmark.

The cell controller was designed and supplied by Ricardo Hitec.
The vision system is used to quantify differences between carcasses and was developed and supplied by Siemens (Germany). It obtains a 3-dimensional picture of each carcass in turn. Picture analysis is to be carried out by software developed by RISO (Denmark). This software communicates to the cell controller the coordinates of predefined points on the carcass.

The evisceration process is carried out in stages. The cutting operations are undertaken by a robot carrying cutting tools defined by Bristol University (United Kingdom). The robot has been designed by Ricardo Hitec to meet the specific needs of the project in terms of high speed and resistance to the environment encountered in abattoirs. The prototype system has a single robot with interchangeable tooling, undertaking both connective tissue and diaphragm cuts. A production system would contain 2 robots each being a 2-axis machine carrying dedicated tooling.
The robot, although specifically designed for abattoir conditions, should also be suitable for other industries such as the food and chemical industries.

Based on techniques developed by Bristol University, Ricardo Hitec have designed and supplied a machine for removing the lungs from the chest cavity.

A production system would also feature a machine for detaching the lung tissue from the chest wall in pleuritic pigs.

Reported by

Ricardo Hitec
Club Street Bamber Bridge
PR5 6FN Preston
United Kingdom
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