Pig Ear Sorting System
Steven Fowler, Travis Guy, Derek Storm
Currently Scott Pet Products’ processing plant located in Tishomingo, OK is the final destination for 20% of the nations pig ears. The pig ears are shipped as a byproduct from pork harvesting facilities around the U.S. The ears are shipped frozen in ice blocks and then sent through a water bath on site in Tishomingo to thaw. Once the ears have been extracted from the ice they are then sent to cutting and trimming, where some of the ears are cut into halves while others are left whole. Ears then proceed to flavoring where they are allowed to soak up flavoring, and then they are then sent to the ovens for drying. The ears are transported to packaging in a large square container, (or a Gaylord as the Scott Pet Product Staff calls them), approximately four feet on a side. Containers are placed in a device and lifted in such a way that the ears simply fall out of the containers into a chute where they are counted by hand and placed on a small conveyor. At the end of the conveyer, another person is holding a bag in order to catch the product. The bag is then handed to another person to be placed in the sealing machine. The number of half and whole ears counted for each bag is based on the specifications of the customer for which the ears are packaged. The packaging line for this product currently consists of four large container dumpers, two conveyer belts, a sealing device, and seven employees. The purpose of this project is to minimize the amount of manpower necessary to operate this production line as well as maximize the production rate and efficiency of the packaging process.
The focus of IBS with regards to this project will be the development of a separation device for the pig ears that will count and accurately meter the ears so they may be bagged. This device will not only require less people to operate then the current system, but will also have a higher capacity and be more accurate than the current system.
Scope of Work
The development of this system will require IBS to formulate, refine, and test different ideas and concepts on how the separation and counting process can be accomplished. Once a concept or combination of concepts is agreed upon, the system will be constructed, tested and further modified for optimum performance. The final design will be a working model that can be implemented directly into the Scott Pet Products’ processing line. To meet these requirements, the final system will have to be rugged, reliable, and easy to operate. Along with the construction of the model IBS, will present to Scott Pet Products a progress report on the project on Dec. 4, 2003. IBS will also be responsible for delivering an operations manual, part sketches and diagrams, and any other pertinent information with the working model upon delivery. A final presentation will be made to Scott’s Pet Products in May of 2004.