Planning an Industry 4.0 implementation strategy using the smart meat processing principles for a smart and connected factory.

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Real-Time Production Insights Smart Factory Analytics


Introduction to Smart Deli Meat Processing


Connect meat processing equipment with IIoT technologies. Monitor machines, batches and cycles to track downtime, optimize uptime, improve yield, and reduce giveaway.

An overview of the deli meat transformation process and lean management technology and tools, techniques and terms is outlined below.

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Smart Primary Processing



Deli Meat Primary Processing

During primary processing, the meat producer focuses on throughput and yield and should pay close attention to the entry weight at the batching mixer in order to compare it the final product weight. Data collected directly from the checkweigher at the end of the line will allow managers to have real-time key performance indicators on yield and productivity.



The first step in many meat processing value chains is grinding. Brands of grinding machines commonly in use include Weiler, Reiser, Seydelmann, Hobart, and Dixie. Any brand of meat grinding machine can be connected and monitored in order to improve productivity and lower production costs.


Meat grinding is a critical value added step as it feeds the downstream production areas to complete the particular meat processing value chain. Unanticipated production interruptions in the meat grinding area can cause significant factory losses because of all the possible production areas and labor crews that can become idle, due to lack of sufficient input material. Clearly, for many meat processing value chains, downtime in grinding can be a cost-multiplier because of the production losses that can be incurred across the plant.


Additionally, because the grinding process can feed multiple next-stage processes, it can be difficult to assess whether the grinding area is fully productive or is causing unnecessary bottlenecks. It can also be difficult to assess if the area provides the necessary capacity to drive various production scenarios that a meat processing plant can be managed to.


The Worximity Smart Factory Roadmap helps you determine the best course of action to reduce production costs with real-time monitoring using TileBoard.

The TileBoard real-time dashboard helps you to visualize what to do. It helps you to monitor productivity, to do Causal and Pareto Analyses to understand causes of downtime and bottlenecks, and to understand the relationships between the grinding area operating performance and the impact on the rest of the factory. TileBoard is connected to your your equipment with the TileConnect smart sensor device.


With connected grinders like Weiler and Marel, the production manager can precisely follow grinding parameters to optimize yield.



Mixing - batching

Typically, the next step in the meat processing value chain for deli sausage is mixing. A well-managed mixing process is essential for quality deli sausage product. Machinery brands commonly in use at this step include Weiler, Reiser, Hobart and others. Most commercial meat mixers are operated through a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) that automatically handle recipes.

Ground protein mix, spices, and flavorings are added at this point. It's important for them to be mixed sufficiently to provide a consistent flavor throughout. Ice is also added to deli sausage mix. The colder you get the sausage, the higher quality, the firmer the texture, and the juicier it will be for consumers during home cooking. Under-mixing leads to an uneven product and over-mixing creates a mashed product that is unappealing to consumers.


Occasionally, operator error or lack of training can mean that the optimum mixing process for a specific recipe is not always followed. Monitoring the mixing process with TileBoard provides a quality backstop to ensure product consistency and to minimize the chances of producing a poor quality product.



  • Batch quantity
  • Batch mixing time
  • Batch weight (weigher & checkweigher connectivity)


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Smart Secondary Processing



Deli Meat Secondary Processing

After mixing, the next typical step in the meat processing value chain for producing deli sausage is stuffing. Vemag, Handtmann, Wolftec and other brands of meat stuffers are commonly used during this step. Once the meat has been stuffed, it will be placed in a cart (often called a truck) and the deli sausage moves to the smart conditioning process for cooking, curing, or for further distribution.

To maximize throughput productivity at this time, the production manager should reduce downtime, decrease operator reaction time, track downtime causes, and increase uptime.


Once the stuffer portions the product, the meat producer feeds a natural meat casing on to the stuffer filling tube, which will form and link the sausages. Ground and mixed (homogenized) product is pumped into the casing by the stuffer.



When the sausage fills the casing, the stuffing machine also forms the meat. It will evenly portion the product to the desired shape and size. To ensure consistent form, the meat producer maintains constant casing tension with the adjustable sausage rollers as the sausages are linked and exit the machine. 


Once the sausages have been formed and linked, they are bundled for hanging or hooked onto a conveyor machine for hanging. They're ready for the next step, the Smart Conditioning process.

If the machine doesn't work, you won't be able to fill the oven or the curing chambers in time. 


  • Stuffer and forming machine uptime
  • Machine throughput
  • Rejects (metal detection)

Smart Conditioning


Deli Meat Conditioning

Because of their intense energy use, cooking ovens are expensive to operate. In order to create maximum value, ovens must be as productive as possible. When bottlenecks or underproduction occur during the stuffing or other upstream processes, not only is lost production costly, but the costs also multiply when it comes to the cooking process. Brands of high temperature continuous cooking ovens commonly in use include JBT, Marlen International, TPS and others.


The curing process varies, and while the Tileboard real-time dashboard has been successfully implemented in many food processing operations, we recommend that you consult with Tileboard’s technical team to be more specific about your production line needs and any monitoring during the curing process.


The meat producer sends the meat in a truck to the continuous cooking oven to be smoked if desired, and then cooked. Before starting the cooking process, the product should be rinsed and dried to eliminate surface bacteria accumulated during the Secondary Process.


The meat can now be smoked and then cooked. The meat producer sends the meat into the smoke house or the continuous cooking oven with the smoking process built-in to it. The minimum cooking temperature should be 155°F or 68°C. Once the meat has been uniformly cooked, it must be cooled quickly to prevent the growth of other bacteria.



Once the meat has been smoked and cooked, it goes through a cold shower with ice water, tap water or brine. The showering helps maintain the product humidity, helps cool the meat quickly, and helps stop the meat from shrinking or wrinkling.



  • Uptime
  • Batch quantity
  • Batch time



Deli Meat Packaging

(TB donwtime + throughput (productivité) + Give Away + Yield (pour comparer avec le poids d’entrée au batching)

The deli sausage is packaged in plastic bags, a machine vacuum-seal and date-stamps them. They are then chilled and frozen to a maximum of of -4°F or -20°C. The product temperature should be monitored during the vacuum-sealing process to ensure better shelf-life and eliminate bacteria.



The slicer is critical equipment in the value process. Extended downtimes can compromise the sanitary condition of the equipment and have the potential to waste a lot of product.

(Weber, Cashin, Groete, Formax), meat slicer


Thermoformers have a key role in product packaging, since they impact finished product aesthetic, shelf life and quality. Extended downtime can compromise the sanitary condition of the equipment and this has the potential to waste a lot of product.

Thermoformer (Multivac, Repack, VC999, Ross, Supervac), vaccum machines


Baggers have an important role in product packaging, since the packaged product is impacted aesthetically, designed shelf life and quality. Extend downtimes can compromise the sanitary condition of the equipment, with the potential to waste a lot of product.

Bager (Ilapak, Toyo Jidoki, Barry Wehmiller, Hayssen, Zip Pak, Pacific Packaging), meat packer, meat bagger,

Checkweigher - weigher

Checkweigher and Scale (Ishida, LOMA, Mettler Toledo, Bizerba, Ricelake), meat scale, food pallet scales, Conveyor

Box erector

Box erectors and case packers, semi-automatic or fully automatic, allow a smooth flow of packaged product to be palletized. Downtime and Uptime on these machines means the work order is completed on time, or not.

(Combi) Conveyor


The labeler, printers and all equipement identifying packaged product has a dual role: it adds a label to easily identify packaged product, and it also provides a bar code (or equivalent identifier) so that the packaging can be traced in inventory management software. Labeler downtime penalizes timely work order completion and can compromise correct accountability of finished product.

Labeler (Videojet, Imaje, Markem), bar code labelers, labelling applicator, Conveyor

Metal detector

Metal detectors are used near the end of the value chain, once the product is ready for final packaging.  Downtime on any metal detector means all packaging operations upstream must stop.

Metal Detector (LOMA, Ceia, Fortress), food safety, meat metal detector, Conveyor

Case sealer

Case Packer (Hartness, Wexxar)


  • uptime de la ligne d’Emballage (% ou en min de temps d’arrêt)
  • throughput en vitesse
  • give away connecté au checkweigher
  • yield (comparé avec le poids d’entrée au batching)
  • qualité (détector de métal)
  • reduce downtime costs at the end of the line (direct labor cost)

Continuous Improvement for Deli Meat


to improve yield as much as possible




ERP, manufacturing software, (BatchMaster, Just Food, SYSPRO, Interal, Ms Dynamics) & MES(IQMS, SYSPRO, Ms Dynamics) 

A wide variety of ERP’s and MES’s can be integrated with Tileboard, to add value to production monitoring, through a simple APi:

ERP/MES based product information updates in Tileboard’s database (automatic data collection on product SKU, Standard Productionn Rate, Standard Employee count for each SKU, Standard Downtime Delay )

  • Ongoing Work Order

OEE Calculation, Overall equipment efficiency/effectiveness

Lean manufacturing, 5S, continual improvement, process improvement, lean manufacturing tools, lean manufacturing principles, Corrective action, Control de suivi de tournée - gamba walks, process improvement, Value stream


Tileboard uses real time and user input reject data to create an accurate picture of actual process throughput.

  • % Availability, obtained by real time data collection
  • % Equipment Efficiency, obtained by real time data (and ERP/MES data, iff required)
  • % Quality, obtained by user input, through a Tileboard Reject form.
  • % OEE (for Product, Work Shift and Line or Equipment) is then automatically calculated.

(AJOUTER UN VISUEL D'UN ÉCRAN TILEBOARD AVEC LES TUILES D'ADRIAN) - Dashboard - Ideal factory dashboard (KPIs), process monitor, cycle counts, performance metrics, real-time machine

About the authors

"Hi, I'm Caroll. I am a Data Scientist who has a background in industrial engineering. I have experience in performance analysis and operations management. In my day-to-day functions I aim to always give meaning to data to help the manufacturers make smarter decisions."

CAROLL JEAN, ing. jr.

Data Analytst - Worximity

"Hi. I'm Adrian. I manage Project deployments, customer training and value added data analysis using my experience as a project engineer for different types of manufacturing operations, focusing on the client’s IIOT platform onboarding."


Customer Success Ingineer - Worximity