The Alliance Group is putting in robotic equipment at its Dannevirke meat processing plant, but expects no redundancies.
About 230 people work processing sheep and bobby calves at the Southern Hawke’s Bay export site.
Processing manager Kerry Stevens said the technology would reduce the amount of labour needed, but that would be by natural attrition.
“So we’re not anticipating redundancies.”
Alliance is spending $10.6 million at the plant.
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Stevens said building had not begun.
Tararua mayor Tracey Collis said the technology would secure the plant’s future in the town.
“It could benefit local builders, though, I guess, with the robot equipment there will be specialists who designed the equipment who will come.”
She said the injection of more than $10m would provide job security at the meat plant, and security among suppliers.
Alliance’s installing of robotic cutting machinery was expected to result in higher product yields and better productivity.
Alliance chief executive David Surveyor said the technology would result in highly efficient production runs and it was vital that the gains were made in meat processing.
“This technology is also more advanced than any other system in New Zealand and will ensure we can deliver greater accuracy, better yields and minimise waste.”
Alliance said the custom-built primal and middle cutting technology featured an X-ray unit that analysed each carcass and “told” the two cutting machines where to cut.
Surveyor said circular cutting blades rather than bandsaws would result in improved hygiene, less strain for workers and better health and safety.
The technology is already in place at the company’s Smithfield site in Timaru and Pukeuri site in Oamaru.