Unlike in Europe, where Breast Cap Deboning is more common, North American poultry processors predominately debone front halves, which include the breast and the back of a chicken. This means, when deboning poultry, cuts need to be made quite differently. Another challenge is that the bird size is much bigger in the US than in Europe. “Before 2020, American poultry processors were not willing to sacrifice final product quality and yield in order to move to automation,” says Oliver Hahn, CEO BAADER Poultry USA. “Additionally, processors struggled for the ideal solution to debone big birds automatically. BAADER innovated this technology to combat these challenges.”
“We have been developing and manufacturing deboning machines for more than 30 years – also for the USA. During the development of the BAADER 660 Breast Cap machine, we were approached by our subsidiary in Kansas City, with the request to build a machine that replaces the manual double cone lines in the US. With the goal to focus on big birds and manual inspection while reducing the number of required workforces”, says Stephan Leuschner, Product Manager R&D Poultry, BAADER. With this in mind, the R&D departments of BAADER started drafting a so-to-say American version of the BAADER Breast Cap Deboner 660. This was the start of the BAADER 661, a machine that is customized for the American market.
The main idea of the BAADER 661 is to intelligently combine labor and automation. The machine automates the cutting and scoring processes, while leaving the final product quality and yield in the hand of our customers through hand harvesting of the fillet and tenders. This approach allowed us to greatly reduce the number of staff required for operating the BAADER 661 as compared to an average manual double cone line while maintaining the line speed of 70 front halves per minute.
When the process kicked off at the beginning of 2020, a time when personal meetings were no longer possible, the R&D departments were met with the challenge to design the machine fully virtually. This came with further obstacles, as the prototype was developed in Germany and could thus not be tested with the actual bird size. “There was a lot back-and-forth, but I think we can all be very proud of the final outcome”, argues Stephan Leuschner. An outcome, that is the astounding result of combined effort across continents, where the base machine was designed in Germany before being passed to the USA for the final design to fit the US big bird market.
Today, the machine can debone front halves without wings from birds with a live weight of up to 11.5lbs (5.2kg), with only four people working on it, depending on additional options. Two workers load the footballs on the saddle, then the birds go through centering and clamping. After this is skinning, measuring, scraping, and then the single fillet cutting or butterfly tools. Afterward, the birds go back to the upper level of the machine where operators take the fillets and tenders off by hand. The new optional features allow for automatic fillet harvesting and tender scoring, thus eliminating the required workers for the 661 by half.
The BAADER 661 is now ready for series production. It will be presented at the booth during the IPPE in Atlanta including live demonstrations so that visitors get to experience the machine on-site.
If you want to know more about the BAADER 661, click here.
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