Why are meat plants investing in automation today?

Jiro Kobayashi, Business Development Advisor, Food Division,  Mayekawa USAJiro Kobayashi, Business Development Advisor, Food Division, Mayekawa USA
We get a lot of "Oh Lord, where is the technology taking us now!" when showing our DAS series deboning machines. Especially the automated pork deboning machines HAMDAS and the brand new CELLDAS - the blade-welding robots guided by automated x-ray scanners look straight out of a Sci-fi movie.

A lot of people in the meat and poultry industry were shocked while amazed by our deboning machines at first glance. Not only do they look advanced, DAS series truly makes life easier for plant owners and managers. It's easier to comply with the post-pandemic regulations without impacting productivity; the chance of work-related injuries is much lower when the workers are made of metal and don't get tired at all; even the yield ratio is higher than hand deboning not to mention productivity.

More and more labor-intensive facilities are eyeing automation or robotic solutions since the covid pandemic. A poultry plant in Arkansas was struggling to maintain the yield as well as production capacity because they were having a hard time putting all the people in one place amid pandemic regulations. They ended up switching to our TORIDAS automated chicken deboning machines so they could continue their production with higher yield. Covid restrictions also worsened the labor shortage in the US, as the borders closed, and fewer work visas were issued to immigrant workers. Based on our experience with clients in the food industry, switching to automation is an effective means to ensure that production continues during unexpected large-scale events.

Based on experience with clients in the food industry, switching to automation is an effective means to ensure that production continues during unexpected large-scale events.


shared by many of our clients is, that fewer and fewer people are willing to start a career as a meat cutter, especially in pork plants. It's repetitive and physically demanding to say the least, while it requires a decent amount of commitment and hard work to kick off. Also, the possibility of acute and repetitive injuries are potential risks for both the workers and businesses. The labor shortage was partly resolved by employing immigrant workers over the past few decades, but the future of globalization adds another layer of instability to it.

In the meantime, the demand for meat and poultry is still increasing. Especially for poultry, as the customers are getting more aware of the health benefits of chicken over red meats, and that they have less carbon footprint and environmental impacts than beef. It is projected the average American will consume around 101.1 pounds of chicken by 2030 from 96.4 pounds per capita in 2020(www.statista.com, Average Meat Consumption in the US by Sort). Total pork consumption is also projected to increase due to the expansion of the US population. (USDA, Factors Affecting U.S. Pork Consumption)
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