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Automation in meat processing

From sectioning to palletizing – KUKA offers automation solutions along the entire value chain in meat processing. As a full-portfolio supplier, we support slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities with intelligent robot systems.

What robot technology can achieve in meat processing

The demands on the meat processing industry are increasing every year. Automation systems that cover the entire process chain in meat processing are a decisive factor when it comes to high food quality and hygiene standards, as well as a small CO2 footprint. This includes tasks such as cutting meat of all animal species, stamping, inspections, further processing steps such as marinating, and packaging and palletizing.

Optimal systems for every process step in the meat industry

We equip companies in the industry with integrated automation solutions – ranging, as required, from the arrival of the animal to the preparation of the food and shipment of the pallets to the supermarkets.

  • Sectioning

    • All types of meat – beef, lamb, pork, poultry – are first sectioned into workable pieces.
    • Hooves, feet, horns, head and tail are removed. The machines calculate conveyor speeds, as well as the swinging movement of the meat, thereby ensuring maximum separation precision. 
    • Health marks can be stamped on the cuts of meat.
    • Intelligent sensor technology is absolutely essential in these processing steps.


    Our robots in the Hygienic Oil (HO) version with tailor-made protective covers are ideally equipped for handling raw meat and other foods:

    • KR QUANTEC HO (payload capacity 120-240 kg) with protection ratings up to IP67
    • KR IONTEC HO (payload capacity 50 kg) with increased protection requirements
    • KR CYBERTECH HO (payload capacity 10-20 kg), the powerful multi-function robot
  • Inspection

    Integrated camera technology and image processing systems are used in the automated inspection of unpackaged meat products:

    • The meat is checked by means of a camera.
    • By measuring the marbling of sliced meat, muscle and fat content can be calculated and the price of the food can be accurately determined.
    • Additionally, the system searches for blood, foreign bodies, bone residues, etc. to ensure clean further processing and utmost hygiene.
    • Samples are taken to check the quality of the food, especially to exclude germs and bacteria.


    These robots are used:

    • KR AGILUS HM (payload capacity 6-11 kg), a Hygienic Machine for processing raw foods
  • Processing of the pieces of meat

    • The raw meat is now cut into ready-to-eat or ready-to-pack pieces.
    • Poultry processing involves trussing whole chickens or preparing individual parts such as breasts and drumsticks.
    • After that, the steaks, pork ribs, legs, cutlets, etc. are either further processed or packaged.


    These robots are used:

  • Possible further processing

    Cut meat products are often further processed by employees in meat processing plants. One process that is used is ultrasonic cutting. Some examples are:

    • Meat is marinated and/or put on skewers.
    • Sausages are hung in racks to be smoked.
    • Boiled sausage is sliced.
    • Discarded meat scraps are further processed into animal feed.
    • Alternative proteins are produced.


    Depending on the further processing step of the meat, different HO robots (Hygienic Oil) are used, as well as the KR AGILUS HM, a Hygienic Machine that can be used for the direct handling of raw foods.

  • Packaging

    • Robots package the meat in portions, e.g. in plastic trays, thermoform packaging or tubular bags. The sealing process is also automated.
    • During packaging, the aesthetic positioning of the food plays an important role.
    • Correct labeling for the supermarket is also carried out automatically.
    • The packs are then placed in boxes, with the robot taking over the entire process from holding the box open to folding it.


    These robots are used:

    Hygienic Machines (HM) for packaging raw meat:


    Robotics in Hygienic Oil (HO) design for handling with ready-packed food:

    • KR DELTA HO (payload capacity 3-6 kg), the high-speed robot for high throughput
    • KR AGILUS HO (payload capacity 6-11 kg) 


    Customer examples: Food packaging
  • Palletizing

    In the final step, the boxes are sorted on pallets and prepared for transportation to butcher shops and supermarkets.

    Pallets of the highly perishable food that have been made ready for transport can be temporarily stored in cold stores with the aid of the KR QUANTEC PA Arctic – and are thus immediately ready for delivery when a supermarket orders them at short notice.

    These robots are used:

    • KR QUANTEC PA (payload capacity 120-240 kg), also available as Hygienic Oil (HO) variant
    • KR QUANTEC PA Arctic (payload capacity 120-240 kg) for use in cold-storage rooms down to -30 °C
    • KR 40 PA (payload capacity 40 kg), also available as Hygienic Oil variant on request


    Customer examples: Food palletizing

Excellence in development and service

High food quality requirements, rising production prices, a growing shortage of skilled workers – there are many challenges for meat processors and the industry is continuously having to respond to them in new ways. For this reason, rely on an automation partner with decades of experience in the food industry.

Our customers benefit from high productivity, low costs and increased food safety as a result of reproducible processes. Our worldwide presence and 24/7 service guarantee reliable support for all questions, including on site.

Advantages of automated meat and poultry processing

Hygienic robots

It is no longer necessary to use protective covers everywhere. With KR AGILUS HM and KR DELTA HM, two Hygienic Machines are available for direct contact with raw food. The entire portfolio is also available in the HO (Hygienic Oil) version. 

Intelligent sensors

Intelligent camera detection is required for precision cutting of the carcasses. The AI-based 3D image processing, which is integrated via suitable interfaces of the controller, detects misshapen, swinging and moving parts. 

High output, consistent quality

Our robots for the meat industry process high volumes of up to 1,000 pigs or 60,000 chickens per hour while maintaining consistent quality. Furthermore, they score particularly high in terms of reach and load capacity.

Everything from a single source

Together with integrators, we provide support for the automation of production facilities and the development of new plant concepts. We offer advice on sensor technology and show how holistic systems save distance and costs.

Compensating for the shortage of skilled workers

With holistic and hygienic automation solutions, processes in slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities remain efficient and economical even in the case of personnel shortages. By taking on heavy and unwieldy tasks, they have a positive effect on job satisfaction.

Worldwide feasibility studies

With our international application centers, we focus on utmost quality. They enable the performance of feasibility studies and simulations in advance and the testing of new engineering solutions for processing systems.

Our portfolio along the process chain 

Every automation system is centered on robotics. Their performance, precision and speed determine efficiency in meat processing. Our systems also bring decades of industrial expertise to the meat sector.

In this harsh environment, the robot technology primarily has to be able to withstand particular humidity, heat or cold, e.g. in cold storage rooms and damp rooms. All our products are designed for this purpose with a robust mechanical system and the necessary IP rating.

Our Hygienic Machines (HM) are ready for immediate use with raw food. All other robots will be equipped with tailor-made protective covers.

Small robots for hygienically sensitive areas in primary and secondary industry

Hygienic Oil robots for sectioning and packing 

Overview of the Hygienic Oil (HO) portfolio

Our HO design robots with NSF H1 lubricants meet the high hygiene requirements in the secondary sector of the meat industry.

High-level palletizing in the meat processing industry

Would you like to automate your meat processing processes?

Get in touch! Our food experts advise and support you from planning to implementation. Our 24/7 service is a reliable contact for you even after commissioning.

Food industry white paper

We bring years of experience and have developed solutions for over 1,000 customers in the food industry. Find out now how we bundle robotics, software and service into a successful package for you. In eight impressive practical examples, we illustrate how we successfully implement concepts from delivery to shipping. 

Free insight for you into solutions for the food industry

Download the white paper

Applications for every type of meat – automated processes pay off 

No matter what animal is being processed in the meat production facility or what workflows are envisaged – our industrial robots intelligently automate almost every process step, making the processing operation faster and more accurate:


Slaughter and cutting processes

  • Red meat (beef, lamb)

    • Removal of hooves and horns
    • Quarters of beef
    • Evaluation of meat quality by means of camera


  • Pork

    • Applying health mark stamps
    • Sectioning into halves of pork
    • Placing cutlets in thermoform trays
  • Poultry

    • Trussing before freezing
    • Sorting chicken nuggets
    • Placing chicken skewers in thermoform trays

Further processing

  • Sausages and ham

    • Hanging sausages in drying racks
    • Loading of curing equipment for Ibérico ham
    • Sandwich topping with sausage slices
  • Alternative proteins

    • Insect meal processing
    • Gripping burger patties
    • Palletizing frozen vegetable products
  • Animal feed

    • Packaging animal feed
    • Loading and unloading autoclaves
    • Palletizing animal feed packaging

System integrators near you

From consulting and optimization to implementation and fast service – our integrators support you on site.