Bindaree Beef is a prominent leader in the Australian meat industry. Its beef processing plant in Inverell, New South Wales, operates twelve months out of the year, supplying an average of 1,000 cattle per day to distributors.
With the goal of protecting and extending the shelf-life of its fresh meats, Bindaree Beef contracted Visy Automation, a specialist in the engineering and integration of high-quality robotic handling and packaging equipment solutions, to complete a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) project.
The MAP project plans included new carton erecting equipment, which offered Bindaree Beef a means to save space in a particularly congested area of the back of the plant. The project also allowed Bindaree Beef the opportunity to reconfigure the plant’s line layouts for better efficiency. This included the ability to re-direct products to certain designated plant areas via a switching conveyor. For example, crates of fresh product and crates of chilled product could be conveyed together on a single line, and then be automatically directed to their appropriate destination location from that line. This feature of the project plans contributed significantly to the MAP objectives, as it resulted in reducing the amount of carton travel time from the production area to the chiller and freezer infeed—thereby optimizing food safety precautions.
To accomplish the space-saving, automatic function of switching products to appropriate lines and destinations, Visy Automation installed an Intralox ARB Switch. The Intralox ARB Switch, featuring patented Activated Roller Belt™ technology, offers the option of divert and non-divert functionality, which provides the flexibility for the plant to handle varying customer order requirements (domestic, export, value-added, etc.). The new line now ably handles carton volume changes from high demand to low demand. This reduces the need to utilize skilled workers for tasks that require less skill (i.e., manning the switch lanes to handle changing product volume). The ARB Switch also provides the capacity to handle future volume increases.
Since the completion of the MAP project and the installation of the ARB Switch, Bindaree Beef has realized a cleaner product flow and less congestion in the back of the plant. These changes in turn have resulted in the faster delivery of chilled meat product via the new divert route.
Bindaree Beef can now deploy its skilled labor to more critical areas of its operation. Additionally, the ARB Switch has reduced the risk of worker injury for those working in the busy plant area, passing Bindaree Beef ’s stringent equipment risk assessment. Because the ARB Switch does not use rails or numerous mechanical controls, it eliminates the need for safety protection.
Creighton Dolbel, the Operations Director at the Bindaree Beef plant, praised the Intralox ARB Switch for its success in meeting the project goals: "The Intralox ARB Switch is a pivotal piece of equipment that forms part of an integrated system that offers better product flow, reduced congestion, and timely delivery of a safe meat product."