Automated grading of bacon using vision technology

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Vision specialists from Stemmer Imaging have worked closely with experts from Marel to integrate a vision-based grading option into Marel’s IBS 2000 bacon slicers. Marel is a pioneer in the application of advanced computer and vision technology to look at and measure a cross section of product such as bacon prior to it being sliced. Vision is an enabling technology which allows the slicers to produce greater volumes of more accurate slices to a closer tolerance with consistent pack weights.

The addition of grading maximises the yield of premium value cuts. This presented a major vision challenge due to the organic nature of the product and significant variations due to season, geography & handling. However, vision technology has been utilised to create an integrated grading option which enables producers to reduce manual grading.

As Marel’s strategic vision partner, Stemmer Imaging has selected the most appropriate high-speed cameras and developed an image processing methodology using its own versatile Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit. This has resulted in a patented, flexible and very accurate measurement system that could not be achieved by traditional machine vision technology.

By working in partnership, Stemmer Imaging is reducing Marel’s manufacturing effort by delivering the vision subsystem pre-configured and tested, removing Marel’s need for the post-design engineering inherent when using fast-changing PC-based technology.

Vision technology has also been used by Marel in other applications, such as cheese and ham slicing and high capacity automatic portioning machines for fresh or chilled boneless product. For more details about vision-based grading technology and the Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit, visit the Stemmer Imaging website at

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