Health and Safety Benefits
A sharp knife does the work better. Lower cutting forces allow greater knife control, which means more meat off the bone and a cleaner job with more meat remaining on higher value cuts and less ending up in the scrap and rework pile. Improvements in yield over 1% are common.
A US poultry plant increased knife sharpness levels using the KST and were able to create a higher value product requiring 30% more cuts per minute with the same number of line staff and product through put as before using the KST.
The most immediate benefit of the Anago Knife Sharpness Tester is that a true (i.e. accurate and objective) measurement of knife sharpness is obtained. No longer does a subjective technique such as paper cutting, thumb pressing or hair cutting/shaving need to be taken as an indication of a knife’s sharpness.
The Anago KST provides a reading of sharpness converted into a score out of 10 and a profile of sharpness along the entire length of the blade.
As a direct result of using the feedback from the machine to optimise sharpening technique and maintain the improvement with monitoring, most users will double the knife sharpness levels across their plant, halving the required cutting force and hence the loading on workers’ bodies.
The adjacent chart is an example from a North American poultry processor who implemented the Anago KST Sharpness Tester.
This chart covers the 3 month period from installation and shows average sharpness scores improving from fluctuating around 7.25 to a consistent 8.5. This score change equates to a 56% reduction in required cutting force (effort). An average of 10 - 15 tests were performed on each of these days. These improvements were achieved without changing either the sharpening room staff or equipment at the facility.
Typical Implementation at a Meat/Food Processing Plant
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 improving sharpness levels.
Improve skills of the sharpening room staff
The goal is to ensure all knives exiting the sharpening room are at optimum sharpness. Use the objective results from the KST to guide changes and improvements in sharpening technique. Benchmark a minimum acceptable score for all knives to achieve before leaving the sharpening room, e.g. 8.5 out of 10.
Establish a sampling regime for the sharpening room
This will enable performance to be tracked and constant feedback to be provided to sharpening staff. For example, begin by testing 20 - 30 knives per day and as sharpness levels improve and become more consistent, gradually reduce the sampling rate to 10-15 knives per day.
Improve online blade maintenance skills
Test the processing staff member’s knives. Identify staff struggling to maintain sharpness with their steel and provide training, taking advantage of the KSTs test results to prompt changes in technique and also to confirm improvements.
Establish a sampling regime for the processing floor
Set a suitable testing rate to track the blade maintenance performance of staff on the processing floor.
Set a benchmark score for minimum sharpness
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.