Robot cells can create more flexible slaughterhouses

12. august 2020

August 2020 Press release from The Danish Technological Institute

Smaller slaughterhouses in particular, can become more flexible with individual robot cells which are controlled using artificial intelligence. The EU project RoBUTCHER is investigating how robot cells can replace a traditional production line at slaughterhouses and instead treat the meat from the carcasses individually.

– The EU is working to promote the development of automation of small and medium-sized slaughterhouses, and here a flexible and automated robot cell will be able to provide both technical and working environment improvements, says senior specialist Lars Bager Christensen from the Danish Technological Institute.

RoBUTCHER is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Program and has participants from six countries.

The goal is to be able to develop a prototype of an automatic robot cell for use on smaller and medium-sized slaughterhouses. Today, the work takes place at a so-called slaughter line, where the carcasses automatically move between the different manual operations. A flexible robot cell, where robots for example take the heavy lifting, will contribute to an improved working environment and demonstrate a higher yield of treated carcasses. This includes being able to treat the carcasses individually and cut off, for example parts of the body, such as the ham and shoulder, before removing the entrails from the carcass, thereby, an opportunity arises to cool the individual parts optimally as more consideration can be given to the size of the pieces.

The Danish Technological Institute’s role in RoBUTCHER is an extension of the innovation project, ACMP – Augmented Cellular Meat Production, co-financed by the Innovation Fund, which deals with build and demonstrate a robot cell for cutting the carcass.

The RoBUTCHER activities are focused on designing grippers for the robots so that they are able to handle the heavy and very flexible pieces. The Danish Technological Institute also contributes extensive experience in the design of artificially intelligent control systems based on 3D image analysis.

The project is led by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and in addition to the Danish Technological Institute also participates Hungarian Obuda University, Animalia, which is Norway’s leading professional and development environment in meat and egg production, German Max Rubner Institute, which are specialists in food production, the Swedish software company Bytemotion AB, the Ukrainian Ciklum, the robot company RobotNorge and the Spanish pig slaughterhouse Faccsa.

The project is supported by the EU’s Horizon2020 framework program.

Further information, contact: senior specialist Lars Bager Christensen, Danish Technological Institute, mobile: 72202657, mail: