Co-Creating World's First Bandsaw Safety Solution with OMRON Technologies

The meat processing industry is one of the key industry sectors in Australia and creates employment for more than 400,000 people through direct and indirect means. Globally, the demand for meat is expected to increase by 14% by 2030, and since Australia is one of the top meat exporters in the world, the industry will have to become more productive and efficient than ever before. The use of bandsaw for cutting meat boosts productivity but comes with a risk of harming operators. With its renowned sensing technologies, OMRON has been taking the initiative to contribute towards the reduction of serious injuries in the meat industry, and this is one of the success stories.

How it all started?

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) is an association that is responsible for conducting R&D activities for the meat processing industry in Australia, and ensuring worker safety is always a top priority for them. Over the years, the association has closely worked with the Australian government and more than 200 meat processing partners to introduce various safety measures that have contributed towards the country becoming a hub for meat export.

The MLA started looking out for partners to introduce technologies to further improve the safety of bandsaw machines. The association shortlisted Scott Automation and Thompson Meat Machinery owing to their expertise in manufacturing packaging solutions and meat processing machines. OMRON being a trusted automation partner of Scott Automation for several years was approached to add more value to the project.

Exceeding customer expectations

Having known OMRON's expertise in sensing technologies, Scott Automation made them an initial request to supply 'Colour Mark Sensors' that would enable machine to detect the rubber gloves of the operator and automatically stop when blade is in close contact. However, OMRON has never believed in just providing a technology and let customers figure out how to implement it. As an organization that aims to solve social issues, OMRON likes to focus on every small detail that could impact the output of the final solution. After thoroughly understanding customer's requirement the team was not convinced to deploy Colour Mark Sensors owing to their short detection range and instead recommended OMRON Vision Camera, FQ2 with further modifications to adjust to the solution requirement. Taking note of OMRON's commitment towards the project, the customer presented another challenge to bring down the detection rate of the camera, but that didn't make OMRON backout, rather the team saw it as an opportunity to contribute even greater value to a social issue. Finally with their tireless efforts the team was able to deliver the desired results and the world's first Bandsaw Safety Solution was ready to deploy.

569_2r.jpgBandsaw machine with OMRON's safety solution

The change continues

The Bandsaw Safety Solution continues to make its way into more meat processing plants across Australia and more than 1,500 machines and now equipped to ensure operator safety. However, the team never rested on its laurels and even today continues to bring in further improvements to make the solution future-ready.

With all the technological transformation happening around us, the human factor remains critical to achieve a sustainable growth. OMRON is committed towards its vision of realizing advanced human-machine collaboration where technology aids the workforce to unleash its true potential, and experience greater levels of personal growth and job satisfaction. OMRON will continue to add values to various industries including the food processing industry which is an indispensable part of our lives.