Upgrades to plant equipment often come in tandem with trends because of a meat market with fluctuating prices. Currently, pork seems to be the most profitable endeavor, as we see a lot of interest in various systems for weighing hogs and sorting various cuts of meat.
It makes sense that equipment would be improved in the market with the highest profit because it allows the companies to make the most out of that upswing. At the same time, it improves efficiency for processing meat when it isn’t making as much profit so they can add a little extra to the bottom line.
Because of these trends, the high throughput for pork requires new ways to handle products. In the case of ribs, a sortation system can make the perfect addition.
When you look at the rib market, there is a large amount of variety. There are multiple different types of ribs based on where they were cut from and how they were cut. For example, baby back ribs are cut from the loin while spare ribs are cut from the belly. The spare ribs generally have more meat, while the baby back ribs are more tender.
The distinctions between ribs get even more confusing after that. As another example, companies will sometimes cut spare ribs down to be more like baby back ribs, and these are called “St. Louis” ribs.
If the variety of rib type wasn’t enough, customers buying ribs often ask for a large number of different sizes and weights based on their needs. Smokehouses and restaurants will want sections of ribs at an ideal weight, while a co-packer might want entire sets of ribs or large sections which they can work into more specialized cuts.
An automatic sortation system is perfect for this type of environment. Rather than having a dozen employees responsible for all of these different criteria, you could use one machine. Compared to the employees, the sortation system doesn’t get tired or make errors in judgment.
A sortation system can easily be customized with as many drops as a customer would want, and it can sort those ribs by any information which you can put into a database, such as sorting by both weight and type. This allows you to accurately meet specific orders with speed and with minimal human interaction.
If you are trying to get complicated rib orders filled via hand sorting, an automatic sortation system should definitely be a consideration.