Saving and Outperforming Manual Labor. RoboBatcher Robotic Packing of Chicken Tenders

Until now, in those markets where chicken tenders (aka tenderloins or inner fillets) are sold on trays for supermarkets, these packs have been put together by hand. Given the global shortage of labor, automation is the better option. That is exactly what Marel’s RoboBatcher Flex for tenders does. Featuring a new gripper, the robot improves on a manual operation by speeding up the process, minimizing giveaway and achieving state-of-the-art styling results.

Until now, the stream of tenders coming from the breast deboning equipment in a poultry processing plant has been processed manually. Most of the time, this involves operators packing tenders one by one while estimating the weights of tender batches and finally weighing trays manually on an off-line weighing scale. The Marel RoboBatcher is the ideal solution for automating this job.

Labor reduction
Packing tenders in trays is labor-intensive, as quality is very important. In certain parts of the world, tenders have a very high value and must be handled with care. Saving several workers per shift on this monotonous packing job, the RoboBatcher Flex for tenders outperforms a manual operation in speed, grading precision, batching accuracy and giveaway reduction. Besides reducing the need for labor, RoboBatcher Flex for tenders improves hygiene and food safety because fewer people are handling and touching the meat.

A processing plant in the above countries will produce plenty of tenders to keep the RoboBatcher Flex running full-time. If needed, the dedicated tender gripper on the robot arm can be changed over in a couple of minutes to batch and pack fillets, legs or drumsticks.

New tender gripper
In addition to RoboBatcher’s dedicated grippers for fillets, legs and drumsticks, Marel has developed a fourth gripper, especially for tenders. Once again, it features state-of-the-art technology, resulting in the precise, careful handling of tenders. The gripper picks up the tender and descends into the tray, which moves along with the belt to achieve a perfect styling.

The RoboBatcher Flex for tenders operates at high speeds. Acceleration forces reach up to 10G. The gripper features several 3D-printed parts that require fewer bolted joints, making it lighter and able to move faster. It is also easier to clean.