Cherkizovo said the installation of the Morigan.Lean system is a pilot project before it decides if it should employ the AI at its other sites.
Morigan.Lean has been developed by the Russian start-up Mattler and is based on computer vision and neural networks technologies.
The goal of the project is to increase productivity of manual labor on the conveyor belt with drumstick trimming and packing, Cherkizovo said. It is expected that Morigan.Lean would be able to provide an objective quantitative indicator on each employee and this would give Cherkizovo opportunities to improve staff manageability and to encourage workers to do their job better.
“The system is running on the following algorithm: there are several CCTVs above the packaging table and there is a bar code on the head-dress of each worker,” a Cherkizovo spokeswoman explained. “The cameras are able to score how many packages every single worker manufactured by the end of the shift. Basing on these results it would be possible to estimate salary of every worker, depending on his efficiency.”
Evgeniy Tetenikin, managing director of Mattler, said the contract with Cherkizovo is among the most important ones in the industry. “By introducing Morigan.Lean at the meat-processing plant Cherkizovo would be able to improve productivity,” added Tetenikin.
Russian meat industry requires more robots
The introduction of AI is in line with the Cherkizovo’s development strategy to employ more robots. In the Russian agricultural industry there is only one robot per 10,000 humans, while for instance in South Korea, there are as many as 530 robots per 10,000 humans, according to Sergey Mikhailov, CEO of Cherkizovo.
It is believed that Russia lags behind in this area, according to Mikhailov. In 2017, Chinese companies purchased 69,000 robots, while Russian companies only 200, he added.
In 2018, Cherkizovo launched a fully-robotized sausages plant in Moscow Oblast, where the human factor reportedly was completely excluded from the production process, Mikhailov said. This was one of the few robotized production facilities in the Russian meat industry built based on Industry 4.0 principles.
In addition, Cherkizovo earlier reported that it was using drones to monitor the harvest conditions in fields and some robots to inspect product quality.