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Optimising Operations: Essential Equipment for Cattle Processing Plants

31st January 2024

The livestock processing industry is an important and sophisticated sector; it represents the beginning of the chain from where livestock are processed for human consumption, as well as creating many other by-products. 

Slaughterhouse equipment plays a significant role in achieving this by applying different functions, such as:

  • Stunning
  • Slaughtering
  • Skinning 
  • Eviscerating
  • Splitting 
  • Trimming 
  • Cutting 
  • Deboning 
  • Grinding 
  • Packaging and more…

It requires diverse equipment and machinery. The slaughterhouse equipment and machinery used in the cattle processing industry must deliver on the following standards:

  • Effectiveness
  • Dependability
  • Safety
  • Healthfulness
  • And Sanitation… 

At the same time, while meeting all necessary standards, including statutory requirements.

The following are some of the essential equipment and slaughterhouse equipment and machinery that are commonly used in the cattle processing industry and how they can help optimise the operations and performance of the plants…

Stunning Equipment

This equipment stuns the animals into an unconscious state prior to slaughtering, which ensures animal rights and meat quality. 

These highly effective machines can be:

  • Electronic
  • Mechanical
  • Or Pneumatic…

Which is determined by the animal type or size. 

Electrical stunning equipment employs an electric current to bring about electro-shock seizure in the brains of animals. 

On the other hand, captive bolt stunning equipment uses several types of gadgets, a firearm or captive bolt, to hit the head of the animal. 

Pneumatic stunning equipment, however, employs compressed air to fire a bolt or a needle that travels to the brain.

Slaughtering Equipment

This machinery is employed to release the animals after they have been stunned, killing them and also preventing blood from staying in the muscles. 

Manual or automatic slaughtering equipment varies with the speed and capacity of every independent process. Manual slaughtering equipment such as knives (to cut the throat of a given animal), hooks and shackles is employed in hanging an animal’s carcass. 

Automatic slaughtering devices include conveyor systems, robots and sensors used for holding the animal in position and slitting its throat without manual aid.

Skinning Equipment

This machinery separates the carcass from its hide or skin to help prepare it and make use of other meats. 

The type and quality of hide or skin determine whether the skinning equipment is manual or automatic. The manual skinning tools include knives, hooks and rollers that are utilised during:

  • Cutting
  • Pulling 
  • Or Peeling Hide From the Carcass…

Robotic skinners comprise conveyor belts with clamps, blades and rollers that hold the hide or skin on which they are used in order to cut it as well as remove it from a carcass.

Eviscerating Equipment

The equipment above is utilised in the removal of the internal body organs to ensure that there are no contaminations that lead to the spoiling of meat. 

The de-slaughtering apparatus can be of a manual or semi-automatic type that, in turn, depends on the forms, sizes, quality, and many other properties of organs or viscera. Hands-held tools such as knives, hooks and trays are used with a manual evisceration system to cut organs out of the body for removal or collection. 

The automatic eviscerating equipment encompasses the use of specifically fitted conveyor belts, robots and vacuums in order to convey, position and remove offal from human involvement during carcass activity.

Splitting Equipment

This machinery, in turn, is used to divide the carcass into two halves so that processing and inspection of meat can be performed later. 

Carcass-splitting machinery can also be either manual or automatic by considering the size and weight of carcasses. 

  • Manual splitting machinery includes saws, hooks and rails used for cutting the carcass and lifting it from one spot to another along with the processing line. 
  • Automatic splitting devices include conveyor belts, robots, and saws that transport the carcass and carry out displacement and cutting operations without the engagement of humans.

Trimming Equipment

This machinery is essential in eliminating undesirable aspects of the cervix carcass, including fat, bones and lesions as well as bruises, hence the quality of meat when using it. 

The trimming equipment is used either manually or automatically depending on the degree and type of trimming. The knives, scissors and hooks are the ones used in manual trimming equipment to make incisions on carcasses while cutting unnecessary parts of meat or discarding defects. 

The conveyor belts, robots and cameras are the components of automatic trimming equipment that transport or position the carcass as well as clip away unwanted parts with defects.

Cutting Equipment

This tool breaks the carcass into smaller and uniform pieces, which should be primal, subprime or retail cuts as per market needs and customer requirements. 

Cutter components may be either manual or automated depending on the nature and dimension of the cuts desired. Manual cutting devices include knives, saws as well as hooks that cut and separate the pieces from a carcass while suspending them. 

The equipment for automatic cutting incorporates the following:

  • Transporters
  • Manipulators
  • And sawing units, namely conveyors.

Deboning Equipment

This Levi particular equipment is used for the deboning processing to get the ordered amount of meat. 

The deboning machines can either be manual or automatic depending on the species and conformation of bone meat. 

Tools that are used when removing the bones include knives, hooks and tables, which are for cutting, pulling or separating the meat from its bones. Automatic deboning consists of conveyor belts, robots and blades that position themselves and split the bones off without human intervention.

Grinding Equipment

This machinery is employed in making the meat into smaller and more grounded forms, such as mince-type or burger-type, that comply with the demands of both markets’ demand and customers. 

Grinding equipment is either manual or automatic, depending on the part type and size grind needed. Manual grinding apparatus includes grinders, mixers and stuffers that are applied to perform the operations of grinding, mixing as well as stuffing previous commodities into casings or another package. 

These devices are automated grinding machines and include:

  • A Conveyor
  • Robot
  • Or grinder to transport the meat

Once there it gets positioned whenever necessary and grinds it away without human help.

Packaging Equipment

The equipment is used to put the meat into different formats of packaging: 

  • Vacuum
  • Modified Atmosphere
  • Or skin package and at the same time save it from decay and safety

Packaging equipment can either be manual or fully automated based on the nature and quantity of packaging that needs to be done. Manual packaging includes scales, trays, bags and sealers, which are used to measure the meat content and then fill it into a package after it is sealed. 

The automatic packaging equipment, however, incorporates a belt-conveyor system that aids in the transportation of batches through robots and sealers to position meat cuts at appropriate locations for sealing without human intervention into packages.


Proper tools and machinery can minimise cases of injuries, risks for illnesses, and contamination. As a result, there will be more achievements in terms of profitability due to increased productivity within the concerned industry. When setting up an abattoir that needs abattoir equipment or a slaughterhouse that needs slaughterhouse equipment, if you are unsure, consult professionals.  They will quickly assess what u need and what you don’t. With so much equipment on the market, there is bound to be exactly what you need out there. Good luck!