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Meat processing disruptions current challenges

Labor shortages are affecting numerous industries across the nation. Outdoors processing crops, you possibly can nearly all the time see a everlasting “We’re hiring” signal on the entrance garden. The meat processing {industry} is one in every of many industries trying to clear up this labor drawback.

Marble Applied sciences, situated at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, is trying to assist create a extra environment friendly and protected meals provide. They’re doing this by incorporating automation into meatpacking crops. The aim is to know the issues that the {industry} is dealing with and discover a answer.

Some issues that the meat processing {industry} is dealing with embrace labor shortages, excessive worker turnover and potential accidents due to the repetitive work the job requires.

Chafik Barbar, CEO of Marble Applied sciences, says, “We don’t begin with the answer. As a substitute, we establish the issues that actually should be solved, and we construct the know-how that may clear up them.”

The industry-focused firm is trying to revolutionize meat processing.

The way it began

Barbar first considered this startup concept whereas pursuing his grasp’s diploma at MIT. Earlier than MIT, he had co-founded an ag tech firm, GrainBridge, which was acquired by Cargill and ADM.

When COVID-19 hit, he and the preliminary Marble workforce checked out which elements of the ag {industry} had been most affected by the pandemic. Wanting on the labor points the meat processing {industry} confronted, he grouped collectively {industry} and engineering professionals to seek out options, with the aim to create a extra resilient meals provide chain.

The Marble workforce went straight to the potential clients and requested about the actual issues they had been dealing with. They regarded the place know-how is immediately, and considered how they will enhance and construct upon it.

Seeking to help, not substitute

A recurring concern they discovered was the packaging space, which entails numerous strenuous, repetitive motions, leading to excessive turnover. “If a job is repetitive, troublesome, boring or harmful, it’s a nice candidate for automation,” Barbar says.

The aim is to not fully substitute human employees, somewhat, to enhance and make their work much less strenuous and extra fulfilling.

“We need to assist employees by having machines do a part of the duty,” Barbar says. “If know-how performs 75% to 80% of a job and an worker does the remainder, we can assist the {industry} with this drawback.”

“Whenever you clear up meat processing points, that may in flip assist clear up issues throughout the meals provide chain,” Barbar provides.

Marble Applied sciences is constructing know-how that won’t solely assist the meat processing {industry}, but additionally have an effect on different meals industries.

Brianna Buseman, a meat processing specialist at Marble Applied sciences, says, “Expertise will breed know-how.” Marble plans to make use of its developments to automate duties in different areas of the meals provide chain as nicely.

The corporate additionally has livestock producers in thoughts. With extra automation, it’s going to assist preserve the crops working at full capability even by means of labor shortages. Many producers had been confronted with the problem of getting their livestock slaughtered throughout the pandemic due to labor points within the packing plant. With extra automation, meat processors will likely be extra resilient to disruptions.

“This isn’t a COVID drawback; this drawback was simply magnified when COVID hit the packing crops,” Barbar says.

Barbar is captivated with maintaining the corporate in Nebraska due to the sheer quantity of beef and pork that’s processed in and round Nebraska. “A giant motive why we selected Nebraska is to be near our clients,” Barbar explains.

Proper timing

Inside 18 months of this firm beginning up, there will likely be a showroom able to show its know-how to clients. This modern development for the meat {industry} occurred so shortly as a result of Marble is fixing a important want within the {industry}. “The timing simply feels proper,” Barbar says. The {industry} is embracing this problem-solving firm, demonstrated by early partnerships.

Sooner or later, Marble Applied sciences is working to develop the Lincoln group and develop the corporate.

“It truly is all in regards to the those who make up your workforce, and now we have an excellent workforce right here at Marble,” Barbar says. Marble is all the time on the lookout for extra individuals to assist them with their mission so as to add extra automation to the meat processing {industry}.

To be taught extra about Marble Applied sciences, go to seemarble.com.

Hodges writes from Julian, Neb.



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