Automated tracking beefs up Canadian meat producer

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Related tags: Radio frequency identification, Rfid, Omron

Automation and radio frequency identification (RFID) equipment from Omron in the UK has been the key to tracking and transporting beef at Rancher's...

Automation and radio frequency identification (RFID) equipment from Omron in the UK has been the key to tracking and transporting beef at Rancher's Beef, one of Canada's largest producers of beef products.

Rancher's Beef worked with three UK companies. Systems Integration supplied the order processing and supervisory systems. Applied Dynamics wrote the control software and implemented the automation and tracking systems. And RMR Control & Automation built the control panels. Applied Dynamics used an Omron RFID system and Omron automation throughout the plant.

The Rancher's Beef plant in Alberta processes a quarter of a million animals a year, all of which arrive live carrying an RFID tag holding data about the producer. After initial processing, the animal carcass is split into two sides each of which has its own RFID tag. The tracking system records full positional data for all of the sides of beef during their passage through the plant.

When the sides of beef are further split into quarters, and the bones removed, the meat is transferred to flat boards transported on a conveyor. Each board carries its own RFID tag which is loaded with data from the tags on the hooks carrying the beef sides.

On arrival at the trim stations, information from the tags is read again and gives operators guidance, via an Omron screen, about how to prepare the meat. Tracking and other data from the RFID tags can be printed on labels which are attached to the finished packs, providing total product traceability.

Contact: Omron Electronics; Tel: 01908 258258

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