Video: Thigh Deboner Takeaway Solution that Optimises Processes in a Restricted Space

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Blog

Video Innovative OPTI Thigh Deboner Takeaway Solution

SF Engineering is well-known in the food processing industry for our manufacturing and equipment integration capabilities, but it’s our solutions consultancy work that is the biggest driver of success for our clients. A recent project to develop an OPTI Thigh Deboner takeaway solution is a good example of our solutions consultancy expertise.

The project was for an existing client who is a significant producer of poultry products in the UK. We created a video of the solution as it went through pre-delivery inspection processes at our Cambridgeshire facility – watch the video now.

The Challenge

The customer’s production line has an existing OPTI Thigh Deboner machine from the respected brand Foodmate. The current production line is capable of up to 6,000 thighs per hour. The thighs are loaded onto the OPTI Thigh Deboner where the bones are removed. The thighs then go to a trimming station before passing through an X-ray machine and on to downstream processes.

An opportunity came up to purchase a second OPTI Thigh Deboner machine. SF Engineering was engaged by the customer to integrate the second machine into the existing production line. To achieve this, a number of challenges had to be overcome:

  • The available floor space in the factory was very limited.
  • A lot of processes had to take place within a confined space.
  • The flow of product on the production line was not fully optimised.
  • The potential throughput rate of the OPTI Thigh Deboner needed to be maximised.
  • The solution needed to minimise the requirement for additional operators on the line.

Our solutions consultants worked closely with our client to develop a solution. This involved going right back to first principles, including visiting the facility to take a complete set of measurements. This gave us an accurate understanding of the factory floor and existing production line so all elements could be critically assessed.

What We Did

The solution we developed delivered fully on the client’s brief and achieved all the required objectives, including:

  • Fitting the second OPTI Thigh Deboner in the available space.
  • Combining the outfeed conveyors into one flow.
  • Optimising the production line process to minimise any additional resource requirement
  • Product quality, working environment, and food safety standards were fully maintained.
  • Cleanability was improved with the inclusion of advanced hygiene features.

As well as designing the solution, we also manufactured the conveyors and integrated the equipment with the existing OPTI Thigh Deboner, the second OPTI Thigh Deboner, and the existing X-ray machine.

The conveyors were specified and manufactured to the highest standards and included PU belts and an open chassis design for maximum hygiene and ease of cleaning.

The Solution Explained

  • We designed an infeed to take the thighs to operators for loading onto the second OPTI Thigh Deboning machine.
  • The removed bones and skin are taken away on outfeed conveyors that combine the flow of the two OPTI Thigh Deboning machines.
  • The boneless thighs are also combined in one flow from both deboning machines and pass through the existing X-ray machine.
  • Any products that are rejected by the X-ray machine are directed to the trimming station for manual processing. This change in the production process means the product is only handled at the trimming station if bone or another contaminant is detected.
  • The product then flows to downstream processes on the existing line.

Talk to Our Food Processing Solutions Consultants Today

Developing innovative solutions to even the most challenging of food production lines is our specialty at SF Engineering. We’ll bring decades of experience to your project and a dedicated team committed to delivering industry-leading solutions for our clients. To discuss your project, production line challenges, or objectives, get in touch with us at SF Engineering today.