Handling frozen meat using vibratory feeders

Supplier: Enmin Vibratory Equipment By: Ken Gallaher
20 April, 2011

Faced with the problem of accepting frozen meat pieces from a spiral freezer Enmin Vibratory Equipment engineers were contracted to design and manufacture a handling system that would accept the meat pieces in bulk then seperate them into four lanes for weighing and packaging.

Following a number of product handling tests, Enmin Engineers were in a position to develop a system that would fullfill some basis requirements. Accumulation of the frozen meat, controlled feeding to seperate the meat pieces, chanelling into four lanes and finally acceleration and spreading before delivery to a special conveyor for weighing and packaging.

Issues that needed to be addressed concerning the meat pieces were their size and shape, times to process through the Vibratory System to avoid possible defrosting of the meat surfaces which could lead to other problems in handling and finally the hygenic aspects.

The proposed system was further complicated by the existing installation that it was required to replace. The client requested that the existing handling equipment remain in place and therefore the Vibratory System needed to be designed in a modular flexible assembly that would permit easy on site installation.

The frozen meat is discharged from the spiral freezer in varying rates since the loading facility is flexible and therefore product entering the Vibratory System first needed to be accumulated in the inital section. Using a specially developed gating arrangement  the frozen meat pieces are released in a uniform manner to the seperating section. Stage two accepts the product and through a clever system of laning channels the meat pieces into four continuous streams. Stage three uses a specially contoured feeder pan to accelerate and further seperate the meat pieces that permit the individual items to be discharged into the special conveyor with has the ability to deliver to the weighing and packaging station.

Each section of the Vibratory System is independently controlled and has further variables in that they can be adjusted to accept differing meat sizes. Hygiene is of paramount consideration in all Enmin Vibratory Equipment designs and although meeting HACCP requirements, Enmin Engineers have further considered the ease of demounting for cleaning of components. Constructed in stainless steel the overall design of this Vibratory Handling System has also safety as a consideration since there are no rotating exposed parts, nip points, moving conveyor belts or possible points for food contamination.