The installation of two Ishida X-ray inspection systems at the Rose Poultry factory in Skovsgaard, Denmark, has fully automated the previously manual process of checking chicken fillets for bones and enabled up to ten operators to be re-deployed elsewhere in the factory.
Rose Poultry is Denmark’s largest manufacturer of chicken products for both the home and overseas markets and has one of the most advanced poultry processing plants in the world. With an established reputation for quality, it was natural for the company to seek to further enhance the inspection process on its frozen chicken fillet lines.
Checking for small pieces of bones can be an arduous manual task with health and safety implications, owing to the repetitive nature of the work. The new Ishida IX-GA-2475 X-ray machines are now able to carry out the same operation automatically, detecting the smallest pieces of bone, at speeds of up to 160 fillets per minute. As a result, this has removed around five people from each of the two production lines.
The IX-GA X-ray system uses a unique self-learning genetic algorithm (GA) to ensure maximum detection sensitivity and reliability. The machine can generally detect impurities down to 0.3mm in size and can also spot missing items or damaged products. In addition, the place of contamination can be accurately pinpointed.
The IX-GA’s were selected in preference to two alternative ‘bone checker’ machines, which, according to Rose Poultry’s factory manager, Per Alan Jensen, were more difficult to operate and had to be calibrated each time by the manufacturer.
“The Ishida X-ray system is much easier to use and we can set it up ourselves,” he explains. “Another advantage of the machine is its compact size, which means it can fit easily into a line in any part of the factory. We were also very pleased with the high levels of service we received from Ishida during the installation of the equipment, with engineers coming over from England to help us through the start up period.”
Once checked by the Ishida system, any rejected fillets are transferred to a separate conveyor and taken off for inspection and repacking. “This means that we now only have to manually inspect around 10% of production, whereas before we had to check 100%,” says Mr Jensen.
He adds that due to the versatility of the Ishida X-rays, which can also check for other contaminants such as metal, glass or plastic, the company is considering using them for other quality inspection requirements elsewhere in the factory.
The installation of the X-ray systems continues a long and successful partnership between Ishida Europe and Rose Poultry. The company is already the largest user of Ishida multiheads in Denmark, having installed its first weighers some 12 years ago.
As part of its continual drive to further improve efficiencies throughout the factory, Rose Poultry is now in the process of replacing its original weighers with the latest Ishida models. Two new CW-RS versions have just been purchased to handle frozen chicken legs. Installed in conjunction with Ishida’s Danish agent TH Consult, the weighers have been adapted to take into account the lack of height in the factory and feature a specially-designed reject system that allows over weights to be re-circulated for re-weighing before they are transferred into the bagmaker, thereby avoiding wasted packaging materials.
“The large piece weights of many of our products has meant that a certain amount needs to be repacked, but thanks to our close working partnership with suppliers, such as Ishida and TH Consult, we are having great success in reducing this,” explains Mr Jensen. “The new weighers are part of this ongoing process.”
The old Ishida weighers were removed and the new ones installed within 16 hours and with minimal production disruption.
“This is typical of the quality service from Ishida and TH Consult,” says Mr Jensen. “In addition to the effectiveness of the equipment, we always receive excellent support and fast response. It is for this reason that we only look to Ishida for our multihead needs.”