6 Steps to get the most from your Knife Sharpness Tester

6 Steps to get the most from your Knife Sharpness Tester

A sharp knife requires far less cutting force than a dull one. This we can all agree on, but just what impact this reduced cutting force has for food processors may not be so well known. Internationally accepted research published in Applied Ergonomics (vol. 24. Pp. 375-382) has shown that when using a sharp knife instead of a dull knife, you can achieve an increase in processing speed (up to 1.5 times higher throughput), a reduced cutting effort (less than half the cutting effort), reduced injury rates (up to 80% fewer repetitive strain injuries) and an increase in yield (up to 1.2%). These are all compelling reasons to ensure knives are kept as sharp as possible, and yet surveys over the past decade have shown that over 80% of the workforce use inadequately sharpened knives.
For us to ensure our customers are getting the most out of their Anago Knife Sharpness Testers and can reap the benefits listed above, we have come up with a 6 step implementation plan. This plan has been developed to complement existing sharpening equipment and staff.
Implementation Plan
1. Carry out a baseline audit of sharpness with the Anago Knife Sharpness Tester:
This will establish a current sharpness level and a starting point from which you can set goals for your onsite sharpness levels.
·Test 30-50 freshly sharpened knives from your sharpening room.
·Test an additional 30-50 knives post shift (after staff have been using them).
·To generate an average score for each group, tick all 30-50 knives under the “search for tests” tab and select “graph tests”. This will produce an average score for these knives when results are viewed under the “score” option.
·You will now have an average sharpness level before and after the shift.
2. Improve skills of the sharpening room staff:
This enables you to ensure that all knives exiting the sharpening room are at optimum sharpness.
·Train sharpening room staff to use the Anago Knife Sharpness Tester .
·Have sharpening room staff sharpen a knife and then test it.
·Examine the results to see where improvements in the blade edge can be made. The results will clearly show any dull or sharp areas.
·Re-sharpen the knife and test again to see if changes have improved the sharpness score.
·Repeat this process with multiple knives, allowing the sharpeners to experiment and practice until they are able to generate a consistently sharp edge along the length of the blade
3. Establish a sampling regime for the sharpening room:
This will enable performance to be tracked and constant feedback to be provided to sharpening staff.
·Begin by testing 20-30 knives per day.
·As sharpness levels improve and become more consistent, you will be able to gradually reduce this sampling rate to 10-20 knives per day.
·An average sharpness level/score should be generated for each day/week and tracked over time.
·Ensure sharpeners are able to view their results directly on the computer. With each test the sharpeners will receive feedback that can help them to determine where they can improve on their sharpening skills.
4. Improve online blade maintenance skills:
This will ensure all staff on the processing floor are able to maintain a high level of sharpness throughout the shift.
·Randomly test the knives of online staff to assess blade condition.
·Have trainers provide assistance to staff struggling to maintain knife sharpness.
·Review their steeling technique and test using the KST. Use the results from the test to prompt changes to technique.
·Confirm that these changes have improved their sharpening skills by re testing the knife.
5. Establish a sampling regime for the processing floor:
This will enable the blade maintenance performance of staff on the processing floor to be tracked and managed.
·Begin by testing 20-30 knives per day.
·As levels improve and become more consistent you will be able to gradually reduce this down to 10-20 knives per day.
·An average sharpness level/score should be generated for each day/week and tracked over time.
·Ensure staff that are struggling to maintain sharpness receive training outlined in step 4.
6. Set a benchmark score for minimum sharpness:
This will ensure that all knives in use are at a high level of sharpness.
·Set in place a benchmark score of minimum sharpness for knives to achieve before they go out onto the floor. We recommend a minimum score of 8.0 on the Anago sharpness scale, but this may be set lower or higher depending on how the scores are looking after the completion of steps 1-5 above.
·Set a benchmark score for all knives in use on the processing floor. This may be slightly lower than the score set for freshly sharpened knives.
·Review and change benchmark scores as further improvements are made to your sharpening processes.
If this step by step approach is followed as outlined, expect to see rapid improvements in knife sharpness levels.
For further information or if you have any questions please email us at info@anago.co.nz
Happy Testing, Sharpening, and Processing!
The Anago Team

1 Comment

  1. Paul a dale says:

    Hi TEAM ! I currently work at the Silver Fern Farms meat plant at Pareora ,just south of Timaru ,Sth Canterbury ,as their senior knife tutor . Been there 2 years ,and been in the meat industry since 1980 . Have I got a passion for knife sharpening ! ! We have one of your amazing ANAGO Knife sharpness testers on plant and I have been using it to lift my own game and that of who ever needs help . The mandate given to me by the Co on commencement of the job was to introduce the Metalform Setter device , at that stage the majority of the knife hands used the flat-stone technique . At that stage we didn’t have the an ANAGO machine , Look forward to communicating further with you at some stage ! PS ; WE ARE GETTING RESULTS ON AN AVERAGE OF 9.4 – 9.5 .for the trainees going through our course , is there any way to check that the current calibration is reading correctly ? Kind Regards Paul A Dale