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Thomas Foods lets automation contract to PFI

Manufacturing News

Industrial automation firm Products for Industry has won a multi-million contract to install product handling systems at Thomas Foods International’s greenfields meat processing site being constructed at Murray Bridge in South Australia.

The contract for robotic palletising and container load out systems for the $300 million meat plant will form an important part of the massive new plant which replaces one destroyed by fire in January, 2018.

PFI CEO Gavin Dunwoodie told @AuManufacturing: “Thomas Foods selected PFI for their detailed knowledge of carton handling systems within the red meat industry and the reputation PFI has for delivering quality automation projects.

“Also manufacturing of almost all elements of the system is within Australia.”

The systems will take two years to fully install, and includes three palletising robots for chilled and frozen cartons and four for depalletising for container loadout.

Dunwoodie said PFI’s Darra, Queensland facility would engineer the system and manufacture conveyor systems, electrical equipment and control systems, representing more than 80 per cent Australian content.

PFI’s senior automation engineer Jon Watson engineered the project in consultation with Thomas Foods, validating the design with advanced simulation software.

Dunwoodie said: “Together with a significant volume of copnveying and various integrated automation hardware elements this will be one of Australia’s most advanced load out facilities in the red meat industry.”

PFI was founded in 2005 and is currently tripling the size of its Dadrra plant, adding 11,000 square metres of space.

To employ 2,000 people when operational, Thomas Foods plant will increase beef cattle processing capacity from 1,200 head per day to 1,400, and lamb capacity from 11,000 per day to 14,000 per day.

Picture: Products for Industry

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