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Automated system improves efficiency at meat packing plant

article image The IT system controls all stock entry, removal, and transfer processes of the high-bay shelf storage with its 3500 pallets

A German meat processing factory has implemented an integrated software solution from CSB-System International to deliver high levels of automation and efficiency, and ensure optimal process flow.

Following the implementation, the meat processing factory of EdekaSüdwestFleisch GmbH in Rheinstetten, Germany has been able to achieve production volumes of up to 650 tons of high-quality meat and sausages per day for 1250 Edeka stores.

Covering the entire value-added chain in the factory, the integrated turnkey solution from CSB controls goods receiving, cutting, production planning and control, packaging and labelling of meat and sausages for self-service, stock placement and removal, picking, loading of trolleys and dispatch. Two control stations permanently monitor about 800 individual processes online, allowing fast corrective action when required.

Receiving Pork and Beef

EdekaSüdwestFleisch’s automated processes begin with the initial receipt of pork halves and beef quarters. Following in-process control and entry in the CSB-System, the beef quarters are forwarded to track storage while the pork halves are graded using a CSB-Image-Meater, a special hardware and software solution that enables fully automatic, no-contact and totally hygienic assessment.

Receiving Retail Goods

Purchased trading goods are received in a dedicated area controlled by the CSB software. Incoming raw materials, auxiliary supplies and operating materials are weighed, submitted to quality checks, and posted directly to the ERP system using mobile data capture (MDC) devices. After attaching pallet labels, the goods are transported either to the high bay storage, or individual crates are entered at four CSB-Rack dedicated workstations and forwarded to the crates storage.


Six pork cutting lines and two beef cutting lines are used to produce the meat cuts. The demand for pork halves and beef quarters is determined in a fully integrated, comprehensive software planning process, which takes into account the complete production process and provides optimal planning results. Based on identified sales data, the CSB-System calculates the expected sales of items for the respective day.

Only the actual carving is done manually in the cutting section with all other processes automated, and the CSB-System ensuring that for each cutting order, the track stores automatically provide exactly the required quantities of pork halves and beef quarters with the requested quality.

Once the primals have been cut according to the preceding calculation, the parts are packed into crates and labelled by the system with all traceability data. This information will be retained throughout all further process stages until the meat reaches the consumer.

With the software able to identify goods to the crate precisely, optimised information and material flows for efficient value-added processes are ensured throughout the entire inventory management. The crates are scanned with MDC devices and the system uses this information to generate pallet labels indicating all relevant information for the respective pallet and its contents.

Production of Meat for Self-Service

The production of meat for self-service receives various items directly from cutting or interim storage. The software controls the fully automatic weighing, packaging and labelling of the finished self-service meat products across all fourteen packaging lines.

Sausage Products

CSB Recipe Optimisation is used to create recipes for high-quality sausage products, ensuring efficient material usage together with optimal quality and costs to deliver reliable gross margins. As part of the batch processing, the software stipulates the exact recipe for every product and includes technical instructions for the machines to be used as well. For the finished meat emulsion, the system generates a label with all batch information required for further processing and consistent traceability of the sausage products. This data is then included in the packaging with integrated price labelling by means of MDC devices that communicate directly with the software.

Storage and Picking

The high bay storage facility installed at the meat factory in Rheinstetten provides space for 3500 pallets and is automatically managed via inventory management. The software controls all processes for stock entry and removal, the shelf loading devices and the conveyors.

Based on customer orders, the system passes the items on to dynamic and static picking, which has been designed for a throughput of approximately 130,000 order line items with a total of 100,000 crates and boxes per day.

Trolley Loading, Dispatch and Control Centres

The picked goods are forwarded via conveyor to nine trolley loading stations and then to dispatch. The CSB-System provides all the data required to correctly load the trolleys for dispatch, complete with way bills including all order data attached. The trolleys are assigned to the respective delivery routes and loaded onto the trucks, which are then sent off on the optimal routes using GPS towards the Edeka stores.

All strings of this highly automated meat factory are joined at the two CSB control stations; while one master control station ensures optimal processing in the logistics system, the second station monitors and controls production and picking. As a result, the system provides up-to-date information about the overall situation, the performance, and the technical status of the production and logistics areas. 

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