New hole plates enhance productivity

Carsten  Jensen

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New hole plates enhance productivity

We have developed a new generation of hole plates for grinding meat. The service time of the hole plates has been improved. Now they can be used to grind meat for an entire month, instead of just one production day, without having to be sharpened.

The service time of the cutting tools (i.e. the time it takes before the hole plates and the knife need to be resharpened) does not currently meet the meat industry’s requirements for high productivity.

If the cutting tool is not sufficiently sharp, it will lead to increased wear of the production equipment. This in turn will result in yield loss and a decrease in productivity due to unplanned and frequent production stoppages.

Together with DMRI’s business partners Tulip Food Company, Koncept Tech, Årestrup tool and machine shop and Uddeholm A/S, we have developed sausage grinder hole plates using a new type of steel called Vanax 75. The steel was developed by the steel producer Uddeholm AB.

Several factors can affect the service time

The period during which the tool performs correctly varies greatly due to variations in the material and the quality of the manufacturing process.

“We expect to see a significant reduction in sharpening costs and in the purchase of new knives and hole plates.”
Jacob Bertelsen, technical manager at Tulip Food Company

Meat grinders operate for a full production day, although during the last production hours the hole plates and knives start to get worn. This results in varying and reduced product quality due to poor cutting performance and increased pressure and temperature conditions of the raw material.

The hole plates made from standard material are not capable of maintaining a uniform cutting quality throughout an entire work day, whereas the new hole plates and knives can operate for a month with the same high cutting quality. An early and conservative calculation indicates that the annual operating costs of the grinder knives will be halved.

“The results of the project were very surprising, and I can see a huge potential, not only for our production of pepperoni and salami but also for the production of our other meat products such as sausages and other minced meat products”, says Jacob Bertelsen, technical manager at Tulip Food Company and continues: “Our initial cost benefit calculations, which are based entirely on the service time and sharpening costs, indicate that using the Vanax 75 hole plates will lead to a significant reduction in sharpening costs and in the purchase of new knives/hole plates. However, we are still in the testing phase, so the ultimate benefits of using Vanax 75 have not yet been calculated.”

Product quality to be assessed

We can see the huge potential of these results and are continuing our series of tests at Tulip to verify the data, build experience and assess whether the new hole plates will lead to an improvement in the product quality in the long term. The project is expected to have identified the opportunities and risks in April 2014.

Other applications

Together with Uddeholm AB, we plan to test the new Vanax 75 steel in other applications in the meat industry in the next few years.