With the rising demand for meat worldwide, the need for stepping up production in the meat industry has led to the industrialization of meat processing, involving the use of various electrical machines and equipment geared towards the efficient production, preservation, and processing of meat and meat products to meet consumer demand. Mechanizing the meat processing system enables the faster and more efficient production of meat and meat products to meet this growing demand, and various methods of preservation enables the efficient storage and extension of the shelf life of these meat products. To be able to do all these, however, one needs to rely on processing technology, which in the larger industries are driven by electricity and energy.
To be able to fully equip the meat production industry with the appropriate technology that would deliver the intended products, the services of an industrial electrician is needed. Industrial electricians specialize in the installation, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair of electrical equipment and their electronic controls, specifically used in factories and industrial establishments.
And because all of this equipment is needed to function together smoothly, and in concert to maintain production goals in meeting demand, the services of a professional electrician is needed – for installation, maintenance, repairs, troubleshooting, and for the addition of necessary upgrades when warranted.
But there is so much more that is required in the smooth operations of a meat processing plant or meat factory. The power supply should constantly be maintained, with backup power generators for emergencies. The electrical and electronic equipment must be tested for current, voltage and continuity, as well as switchgear, transformers, regulators, alternators, batteries, control systems, and the necessary maintenance and calibration of all industrial instruments and devices.
Some of the electrical equipment you might find in a meat factory, and meat processing plant includes:
- Meat grinder or Mincer
This is a machine where meat or meat trimmings are fed into a cylinder, where they are then cut by rotating knives and grinding plates, after which the meat is compressed and exits through holes, now minced into smaller particles. How small the meat particles will be is determined by the holes in the grinding plates.
While there are manual types of meat grinders that can be operated without electricity, these are mostly utilized in small-scale meat production operations. For larger industries, larger meat grinders which run on motors are used.
Traditionally, smokehouses work through the burning of wood, whether hardwood sawdust or pieces of log and these are still used in small-scale operations to this day.
More modern smokehouses feature innovations such as smoking chambers in special smoke generators where one has greater control over the quantity, temperature, and purity of the smoke. Smoke may then be generated either through gas flames or electric heating plates applied to sawdust, friction wherein timber or logs are pressed against a fast rotating steel drum, or through the application of steam on sawdust to generate smoke.
The smoke produced is then conveyed into the smoking chamber, but it is interesting to note that these modern smokehouses allow for so much more control. One can automate the amount of smoke, the temperature, and even the chemical composition of the smoke to minimize undesirable particles such as tar and other hazardous substances such as benzopyrene.
- Bowl cutters
Bowl cutters are chopping equipment consisting of curved knives attached to a revolving bowl, rotating at high speeds to cut or chop meat into small or lean pieces and particles.
Large and high-speed bowl cutters are obviously dangerous equipment, which is why they are often equipped with a strong cover and gears by which a person can adjust the speed with which it operates.
There are some bowl-cutter/meat grinder combination equipment available for large operations that wish to speed up the process, as both works towards the same process of rendering meat into smaller particles.
- Frozen meat cutters
These are heavy-duty cutting machines that chop or cut frozen meat into smaller pieces without the need to thaw them out first. This can either be knives moving in a vertical direction, similar to a guillotine, or frozen meat cutters that carve out particles from blocks of frozen meat. Either way, the smaller pieces of meat can then be ground up or cut with bowl cutters without the need of thawing.
- Tumbler or Massager
This equipment is for protein extraction as well as the even distribution of brine, salt, and phosphates. The meat is tumbled and rotated around by steel paddles equipped inside a rotating drum. This process can take anywhere from four hours or more. Thus proper hygiene practices are necessary to keep the meat fresh and uncontaminated. Temperature levels are also closely monitored to prevent microbial growth.
These are separate functions performed by separate machines. Some of these machines are available for smaller meat processing operations and can be operated manually. But again, with the need to increase production to meet the rising demand for meat, electrically operated machines and equipment that run on motors are necessary.