Blue Sky Pastures’ meat processing plant near Invercargill, in the lush southern area of New Zealand, processes up to 30,000 lambs per week on one processing line. During peak season, their specialized boning and cutting rooms operate 20 hours per day, seven days a week.
The plant now has seven Guardian Bandsaws in all three sizes (300, 400, and 600). October 2020 marks the first year when they have had no bandsaw injuries.
Before they moved to a smart bandsaw, they were experiencing one or two bandsaw injuries a year, and every injury has potential to be very severe.
“Our only line of defence was training”
CEO Todd Grave says that “our only line of defence was training. But when you are doing that many hours on a bandsaw, human error creeps in.”
As part of their plan to upgrade their equipment for optimal safety, they looked at different plants around New Zealand and how they were using bandsaws in their operations.
Ultimately, they chose Guardian Bandsaw because, “We felt they were more user-friendly and there were more safety features with a Guardian Bandsaw”, Todd says.
“Instantly sent us the footage to analyse what happened”
As well as the bandsaw’s safety features, which include a high-speed braking system, Blue Sky Pastures also benefit from the Industry 4.0 technology and real-time monitoring of the meat bandsaws.
This two-way communication was valuable when an operator recently activated the safety system. Todd says the team at Guardian Bandsaw “instantly sent us the footage to analyse what happened. They gave us feedback on what they’d seen and what they thought about the incident. The cameras and the remote link to Guardian Bandsaw means they can review when things go wrong and train their operators by using the camera footage, and our analysis of the event”.
“High level of confidence they will be protected from harm”
Transitioning to Guardian Bandsaw from their previous machines meant the operators had to change the way they move carcasses around the saw slightly. But these changes quickly became business as usual, and they have received no negative feedback from their operators. In fact, when one Guardian Bandsaw was being serviced for a short period of time, the operator expressed discomfort at having to use a back-up saw – demonstrating the high level of confidence they have in Guardian Bandsaw to protect them from harm, and a massive health and safety tick from switching to us.
“Guardian Bandsaw has allowed [us] to keep operating quickly”
Blue Sky Pastures run a particularly fast boning room, and there’s a lot of pressure on the bandsaw operators to maintain that speed. Guardian Bandsaw has allowed operators to keep operating quickly and confidently, while managing the risk of injury.
Todd says, “We have increased our safety to a fail-safe level with no drop in productivity.” And that’s something we can all celebrate.