If you were the manager of 10 of the greatest engineers on the planet and you wanted to design the perfect meat dicer to meet a variety of application needs, how would you do it? We asked several of our customers this key question and here’s what they said.
Solve workforce challenges with an icon-based HMI
What’s going in today’s meat plants is a severe shortage of employees. As meat processors, we find that we’re training operators on Monday only to find them gone by the following Monday. To keep this turnaround from impacting production too drastically, a meat dicer’s human machine interface (HMI) needs to be extremely user-friendly and intuitive without any language barriers.
Marlen’s DuraKut™ 6000 series meat dicers feature an HMI is similar to an iPad screen that contains icons rather than words. This makes the interface extremely easy to learn and use, no matter what language the operator speaks.
Solve food safety challenges with an ultra-hygienic design
Each year, the food processing and packaging industry sees ~18 recalls of meat or poultry products due to possible contamination by Listeria, Salmonella, or E. coli alone. Some of these recalls have been huge, involving hundreds of thousands of pounds of product.
The increasing frequency and cost of recalls, coupled with FSMA, is putting even more pressure on processors to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of food products. In a meat plant, this starts with ensuring the cleanliness of the equipment.
Based on this feedback, Marlen designed its DuraKut meat dicer to be easy to take apart and clean by eliminating as best as possible the threat of bacteria harborage locations on the machine. The surfaces are sloped, not flat, and there are no external hinges on the covers or door handles.
Cleanability is particularly important when processing ready-to-eat products like beef jerky. If an RTE product is going to go through any machine right into a package, the machine must be perfectly clean. This requires following the principles of hygienic design to ensure the equipment meets the highest standards. That’s is just what Marlen did when designing the DuraKut 6000 meat dicer.
Solve maintenance challenges with easy-to-service equipment
This feature is related to both of the ones above. Many meat processors find properly servicing their equipment challenging because of the difficulty of finding qualified technicians, as well as the difficulty of taking apart older equipment.
Marlen’s DuraKut solves both of these problems with tool free disassembly and an innovative design. Any part that comes off the machine or needs to be removed is either hinged or has a place to be stored safely so that it can be thoroughly cleaned. The meat dicer features a takeaway conveyor system that consists of a belt, some plastic guides, and a roller. Marlen put the attachment points right where the parts can be stored for cleaning. The operator doesn’t even have to move to take off a dirty part and place it on the attachment point. Then, when the clean-up crew comes in, they blast it with high-pressure water and cleansers to clean it inside and out. When the operator arrives the next day, the part is clean, dry, and ready to go.
Solving changeover challenges with flexible design
As consumers continue to demand a wider variety of food products, food processors are responding by making their processes more flexible. That means the equipment they use must be more flexible as well.
Marlen’s DuraKut meat dicer is known as the Swiss Army knife of size reduction because it can do both 2D slicing and 3D dicing. Marlen offers a horizontal slicing attachment that processors can put on the front of the machine to enable 3D dicing, at any time. When they’re done, they roll the attachment away and continue with 2D dicing. This is a common requirement in poultry plants that process chicken breasts and thighs destined for restaurants or salad bars.
The 3D attachment works seamlessly with the HMI as well. As soon as you plug in the attachment, the HMI calls up the 3D functions for the horizontal slicer. When you unplug the meat dicer, the HMI reverts back to the 2D settings.
With its flexible, user-friendly, and sanitation-focused design, Marlen’s DuraKut 6000 meat dicer represents a new advancement in size reduction equipment. It provides not only a robust solution for slicing and dicing a variety of meat and poultry products, but also helps processors solve the biggest challenges facing their operations today.