IT is one of the most critical jobs within a processing plant, but the work of a meat inspector could be about to get easier thanks to simple technology.
The National Meat Industry Training Advisory Council (MINTRAC) have been trialling voice recognition equipment as an easier and quicker way to collect sheep health data at processing plants across the country, including Southern Meats at Goulburn.
While it may not seem like much, an inspector wearing the microphone and hearing muffs can call a carcase forward, announce what disease defect it may have, before calling a new lot forward when ready.
A computer records all of the inspector’s information and calculates the scores of the 20 programmed conditions.
The equipment can be used for three to four hours with a 95 per cent accuracy and can transmit across 10 metres.
Following four months of trials on a roving inspector, the equipment is now ready to be put into a plant with further potential for use in beef.
MINTRAC senior project officer Clive Richardson said voice recognition equipment was just the start of real time data collecting technology within the processing sector, particularly for use in the Health4Wealth project.
“Touch screens are the state of the art stuff now, that’s where the industry has made it’s investment and that’s where we see the bulk of the data (like Health4Wealth) being captured,” he said.
“But somewhere out there in tomorrow land there is voice recognition, there is a whole range of other things like the Google glasses and those sorts of things, which will enable capture of data in real time.”
Mr Richardson said early indications were promising for the success of the voice recognition technology.
“For gathering data on sheep health it’ll give us much more accurate detail data then we are getting now and it means the inspector is concentrating on the inspection task,” he said.
“He is not having to move away from that task to recording data.”