Getting the most value out of a cut of beef steak or pork loin can make a literal, monetary difference to food processors, but up until recently has not always been easy to achieve. By combining XVision Flexscan technology and advanced software with DSI Waterjet Portioning Systems, JBT is now able to add significant value to a cut of meat, while ensuring sensitive products – such as red meat – make minimum contact with water.
Debuted in 2017, the JBT DSI X-ray Guided Waterjet Portioning System marks a major step forward on previous waterjet solutions by enabling an effective analysis of the product interior to take place before the first cut is even taken. However, the 2021 introduction of DSI Value Optimizer software enables product managers to determine a cut pattern that achieves the highest value based on current pricing, allowing companies to maximize both yields and profits.
“We have been making a concerted effort working with our software development and mechanical engineering teams on how we can better equip our current machine offering for red meat,” explains JBT DSI New Market Development Engineer, Alec Hewitt. “We’ve put significant effort into a water jet application specifically for the red meat industry.”
Hewitt recently hosted a Red Meat webinar as part of the JBTConnect series (register to view), examining how the system can benefit a wide range of products, from beef steaks, sirloins and New York strips to pork ribs, loins and chops.
“We have done a lot more work with pork processors in terms of developing software that is most usable for them,” reveals Hewitt. “We can analyse a rib pack and develop a value-based strategy that can turn a US$6 rib into a US$7 rib and we think that’s of great benefit to the industry.”
When it comes to red meat, one of DSI’s biggest advances has been the development of a system which captures the water stream immediately and directs it away from the meat to minimize any contact with the water. “Our engineers have done an incredible job,” says Hewitt. “Our water stream is only about the width of a human hair, but once it passes through the meat it goes into a water capture or “baffle” that directs it away from the product surface. We have also improved ventilation in the system.”
The integration of Flexscan Xray technology means operators can now scan the products and calculate how they want to make the cut before the process begins. “The Xray allows us to individually see every rib in the pack and with that information we can plot a cut pattern, so every cut pattern will be unique,” continues Hewitt. “Our water jet system is on a x/y axis which allows us to make last-minute adjustments of how we are cutting.”
The addition of Value Optimizer software enables product managers to aggregate information on a daily basis and apply the cut strategy to the highest volume based on internal pricing. In fact, the software is connected to futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, so processors can benefit from daily pricing updates.
However, JBT remains very much involved and will work with customers to help develop cut strategies. “For example, a customer might have multiple product SUKs with varying requirements, and we will work with them based on what their specifications are and program that into the equipment so it’s ready to go,” he explains. “Also, if (and when) those specifications change, it’s very straightforward and user-friendly to adjust, so the cut strategies continue to match our customer’s expectations.”