Robots in meat processing plants
Are robotics in meat processing plants a good alternative as the coronavirus pandemic has caused slowdowns at plants? Ty Lawrence, a professor of animal and meat science at West Texas A&M University, says it’s not that simple.
He says opportunities for automation in beef processing are minimal at this point because of the unique nature of each animal.
“It would take almost too much A.I. for the robot to figure out how the next animal is different from the last animal and to make all the millions of iterations that a human makes almost intuitively without really thinking about it,” he says.
He says to make robotics work in meat processing…
“It would take a fair number of photo eyes and/or end motion sensors because every animal is completely unique
Lawrence says the focus should be on maintaining the health of the workforce. He says once that happens, slaughter numbers will get back to 100 percent.
“As long as the beef processors are able to pick up as many Saturdays as possible, they’ll be able to chew through the backlog of cattle that we have right now,” he says.