Karan Beef is a supplier of the beef and beef products in South Africa. Ivor Karan established his feedlot on the family farm in 1974 with less than 100 head of cattle. Over the years, the capacity of the feedlot has increased to accommodate over 130,000 head of cattle—making the company’s feedlot one of the largest in Africa.
The purchase of three adjoining farms increased the overall size of Karan Beef estate to 2,330 hectares—not only accommodating the growing feedlot, but also allowing for the evolution of the facilities into a fully integrated business unit.
The processing plant is part of the abattoir complex situated in Balfour; the abattoir has the licensed capacity to process 2,000 head of cattle per day.
The meat processing plant utilises trimmings generated from the on-site deboning plant, producing 22 tonnes of meat products per shift.
At the facility, the company manufactures and packs a range of value added products including marinated, pickled, par-cooked products and hamburger patties. All products are produced with international consumers in mind. The products are exported to Hong Kong, Indian Ocean Islands, Middle East, African countries.
They are also sold nationally to the food services market in a variety of pack sizes and to the retail market, under their own house brands or under the company’s brand.
In the past few years, customer demand for its products has been well above the company’s sustained annual compound growth rate. Throughout its growth, the company’s priority has been not only to meet the market demand, but also to maintain a high quality standard of its products and processes.
The company consequently turned to Cama Group, a supplier of advanced technology secondary packaging systems, to engineer its packaging lines to allow the company to meet the exceeding market demand.
To meet the beef manufacturer’s needs, the packaging line is composed of a box forming machine and four in line Triaflex Delta Robots, which by means of a ‘smart’ vision system can pick flow-wrapped frozen hamburgers, and load them into three flaps lid boxes with different configurations and sizes.
Loaded boxes are then transferred outside the loading unit and transported to the three flaps closing machine. The maximum infeed rate is 300 packs per minute. Subsequently, the products are packaged in retail cartons or catering cartons with different size changings. The packaging supplier developed and designed a specific box with gusset type reclosable feature to suit the specific demand of the ‘catering’ sizes.
The gentle handling packaging solution has been studied, so as not to damage delicate products. The easy handling of irregular hamburgers can guarantee insignificant waste of products. The smart vision system can optimise management of the product by automatically selecting products, according to pre-established dimension and arrival speed.
The unique approach of this new multi robot application is that a single controller for the entire system is adopted based on a standard technology and can therefore be managed by a trained engineer. Consequently, all functions are integrated in one control system, while the number of interfaces and component costs are reduced.