"Traceability is the cornerstone of any production management system and inevitably, labelling is the predominant method of maintaining traceability at various stages of operation. If product can be traced from farm to finished goods dispatch, then all of the data will be in place to produce whatever management information is required", says Peter Kettel, Emydex Technology's UK general manager.
"In the abattoir Emydex has systems producing labels for carcass, hides, heads, offal and tissue samples."
Specialist weighing and printing techniques, together with purpose designed line configurations, are required for high-speed lamb lines. We're able to print a bar-coded carcass tag label with full traceability every 4.5 seconds. Most beef plants will cut sides in a marshalling area, with some cuts going into boning and some dispatched as either hanging cuts or removed in jumbo containers.
Our carcass splitting engine automatically allocates traceability labels for all removed or hanging cuts. This is done via a hand- held Wi-Fi bar axle scanning terminal, with no need to re-weigh the cuts to produce the new labels."
Throughout the production operation, there are normally weighing stations at critical control points. These are usually connected to industrial PC units and label printers, enabling software systems to control and monitor production.
Kettel says: 'Relatively basic software packages will just record what product has been weighed into and out of production departments, using this data to produce yield reports. Advanced Emydex systems enable production to be planned and controlled. Only meat with the correct attributes of quality status, grade, country of origin and so on is allowed to be input into particular production batches. Cuts from individual carcass can be traced throughout he deboning process with purposely designed operating procedures.'
Extract from story originally published in Meat Trades Journal January 2012