A push to embrace new technology and harness big data is driving efficiency across the Aussie beef industry.

Story and photo by Nathan Dyer

In the rib-cutting room at Australia’s largest beef plant, a circular saw roars as it moves from one carcase to the next, making cut after precise cut. What makes this boning room unique is a robotic arm that guides the saw by analysing data collected from a mixture of high-tech x-ray and visual sensors.

According to Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Sean Starling, the rib-cutting robot at JBS Australia’s Dinmore facility near Ipswich, Qld – which uses objective carcase measurement technology known as Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) – is one of the most exciting examples of how the Aussie beef industry is embracing new technologies like never before. Developed by Scott Automation and Robotics, the robot uses a combination of DEXA, colour camera and 3D imagery to analyse complex meat, fat and bone data to determine correct cut coordinates.

“At the moment we’ve got a perfect storm of technologies coming to fruition at once, and an industry wanting to evolve and adopt those technologies,” says Sean.

This story excerpt is from Issue #111

Outback Magazine: Feb/March 2017