IPPE 2017

New merger targets automated cattle slaughter

Frontmatec aims to revolutionise beef production with step-change robotics

Newly created Frontmatec plans groundbreaking automated cattle slaughter developments, Henrik Andersen, who has just become chief executive of the business, has revealed.

Frontmatec specialises in food processing automation and has already worked with meat processors to design some of the most advanced pork processing plants in the US. It offers solutions ranging from carcase grading and slaughter lines, cutting and deboning lines, hygiene systems and control systems to logistics and packaging.

Speaking to GlobalMeatNews at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE 2017), Andersen, who has been heading the combined European group for the past three months, said: “Next we will have to try to produce what we have been doing in pork with cattle…

New products launching for cattle are not out yet – they will be another two years maybe. We have several cattle projects running at the moment… we are in the process of filing a patent for beef.

Variation in specifications

Andersen said cattle slaughter plants were not so advanced as pig plants in terms of automation, mainly because there was much greater variation in specifications of types and breeds of cattle compared to pigs. “The biological variation makes it tricky to automate.

The group is working on two automated pig slaughter facilities, one run by Clemens Food Group in Coldwater, Michigan, and one in Sioux City, Iowa, both with slaughter speeds of 1,200 head an hour. Referring to the Coldwater plant, Andersen claimed: “It’s the fastest single-line kill floor in the world.

The Sioux City facility is expected to become operational before the autumn this year, with the Coldwater factory scheduled to go online shortly after that.

The merger of businesses that led to the formation of Frontmatec, which comprises Attec, Itec, Carometec, Frontmatec and SFK Leblanc, began on 1 September, with the last company joining this week.

From concept to implementation

The goal was to create a leading global supplier of equipment, solutions and software for international food companies, able to offer complete solutions, from concept to implementation.

In addition to Andersen, who was previously chief executive of Carometec, Lars Hansen has been named as chief operating officer and Henrik Alifas Nielsen as chief finance officer (CFO). Nielsen is currently CFO at SFK Leblanc.

Hansen will become global head of operations from June 2017. He is currently vice-president, supply chain/operations at Assa Abloy Entrance Systems.

The company has assured customers that the transition from current brands to Frontmatec would entail no immediate changes affecting its business relationships and would happen gradually during 2017. The usual contacts and their contact details would remain unchanged until further notice, it said.

Although the group was changing company names to one united corporate brand, Itec would remain a category brand under Frontmatec for hygiene equipment and solutions, it said.

The group has operations in Europe, the Americas and Asia and employs more than 800 people.

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