ANZCO Rangitikei $10m automation upgrade

ANZCO’s automated cutting equipment project at its Rangitikei site has been completed on time with the site now coming in to full production.

ANZCO’s $10m automated cutting equipment project at its Rangitikei site has been completed on time with the site coming in to full production this month.

The investment features an x-ray machine which works with automated cutting equipment improving yield by allowing a very high level of accuracy to cut and reducing health and safety risks. The automated cutting equipment replaces five bandsaws and removes the four-quarter and leg, and debones the full middle ensuring precise cutting to the exact specifications of each carcass. The increased yield comes from improved accuracy which will have a positive financial impact. For example, the value of an extra 5mm on French racks compared to it being on the flap is substantial.

ANZCO took an innovative approach to the installation of the new equipment which almost halved the usual installation time and enabled the site to keep operating throughout the project. Because the site kept operating if we found anything wasn’t working correctly we were able to revert to the old process so there wasn’t any impact on production. ANZCO worked closely with the equipment provider Scott which also helped with the smooth installation. Two of our engineers worked at Scott in Dunedin and the Rangitikei team worked closely with the employees who use the equipment including building a life-sized model to ensure everything worked as it should and refining ideas.

No one lost their jobs as a result of the new equipment, with the bandsaw operators being integrated into the wider processing team. ANZCO built the Rangitikei sheep processing site in 2005. It employs around 400 people and has an annual processing capacity of 1m sheep/lambs.

ANZCO Rangitikei directly contributes more than $128m to the local economy each year through wages, salaries and farmer and supplier payments. The economic contribution has been further enhanced with 40% of the $10m project cost being spent on a range of local service providers working on the project and equipment installation, and 60% comprising the new equipment.

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