Profitable slicing starts prior to reaching the blade, according to Weber, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of slicing machines for the meat and cheese industry. X-ray and scanning technology will have an immediate impact on the return on investment. The precise x-ray and scanning technology measures deli and cheese products prior to slicing. Customers using x-ray or scanning technology are seeing giveaway reduced to near zero and approaching 100 percent on-weight portions, even on challenging products like Swiss cheese.

Weber’s patented involute Durablades® come equipped with an RFID chip. When it comes time to sharpening or replacing a blade, the specifications are stored within the RFID. Replicating a blade’s specifications is crucial to delivering consistent portions. The RFID chip can also alert customers to how much life remains on the blade making sure the slicer’s uptime is meeting requirements.

With continued increases in labor required to handle all of the new applications, Weber’s SmartPicker makes the wide-ranging benefits of automation available to small-and mid-volume commissaries where space can sometimes be limited. The Weber SmartPicker does not require the use of a long buffer. Instead, this space savings solution is designed with a compact integrated buffer. Robotics can virtually eliminate human contact with sliced products and still deliver accurate product placement, and the flexibility to handle quick product changeovers. Commissaries can see less contamination with robotics, such as the Weber SmartPicker, while realizing the labor savings increasing profitability.

When it comes to key safety considerations of choosing the right slicer for your commissary, the application, product characteristics and dimensions should be considered before selecting grippers, according to Weber. Products such as prosciutto that are sliced thin require a shallow bite gripper, so not to grip too far into the product to maximize the yield to the very end. Yet, a softer product like water-based ham would require a gripper with a deeper grip to stabilize the log as it is being sliced to get the most yield possible. 

Both speed and convenience factor into the equation of selecting the right slicer, as well. Speed is dependent on the product attributes and desired portion. Different blade technologies can be used for different products and portion sizes that can increase production, but it is relative to the product and application, according to Weber. Product loading is another consideration that impacts speed and throughputs. An example would be an irregular shaped product that may need to be hand loaded compared to a molded product that could be auto-loaded.

Consistency and accurate portion control are vital. It begins with the software and processing speed of the Weber computer communicating critical data and reacting to achieve accuracy and consistency in weight control without compromising yield or throughput. The slicer not only uses a scale, but can also be equipped with vision technology as well as pre-scanning to add additional confirmation and control of desired accuracies.