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CASE STUDY: The Portio 3 raises Anderson Boneless Beef’s meat portioning yields by 13%


Anderson Boneless Beef is a toll processor specializing in custom portion cuts and grinds, high-quality and retail-ready packaging, private USDA labels, and third-party meat distribution. After 60 years in business as a food distributor, the company pivoted to become a single-ingredient processor. An acquisition by another company, Food Maven, prompted a fresh look at their meat portioning process.

Mack Starr, vice president at Anderson Boneless Beef, describes their original process as rudimentary and wasteful. Six butchers hand-cut every single primal.

“One of the first things we noticed was our yields were below industry standards,” Starr said. “Because we were hand cutting everything and hand cutting such a wide variety of products.”

In addition, hand cutting limited their ability to expand daily output. The manual process restricted production to about 8,000 to 10,000 lbs. per week and proved a significant bottleneck to the company’s ability to grow. Anderson decided to look for a solution that would allow them to automate their meat portioning process and increase their overall yields.



Anderson Beef contacted Ross Industries about potential solutions to their problem. Ross recommended the Marelec Portio 3-300 for its speed, accuracy, and ability to completely automate the cutting process.

The Portio uses a three-camera/laser system to scan the entire contour of a large primal. Based on the product’s density, the machine instantly calculates where to cut the product to optimize yield and minimize give-away while keeping the target weights in mind.

Starr said they liked the Portio’s smaller footprint, low maintenance, and ability to store recipes—a must-have for a toll processor with 160 unique SKUs.

The optional features really impressed him— such as grader integration and the front and back holders, which minimize product waste by keeping the first and last slices of the primal upright and stable during cutting.

“The front holder and the back holder are incredible,” Starr said. “Most other machines don’t have that, so you know the products are not falling down whenever you put it on the belt; it’s not falling when it starts cutting.”

After investigating Multivac and Marel machines available at nearly the same price, they determined the Portio far surpassed the other meat portioning options.

“We liked the Portio the best out of everything we looked at, and we liked Ross the best out of everyone we talked to. So, it was kind of a no-brainer at that point,” Starr said.



After a year of using the Portio, yields went up at Anderson Beef by an average of 8% to 13% every week (depending on the combination of products processed). Customers are ecstatic. Almost overnight, Anderson went from having below-industry-average product yields to consistently turning out products with above-average yields. In addition, Anderson’s average weekly product throughput has nearly quadrupled.

“When we started, we had six cutters, cutting about 8,000 to 10,000 pounds a week at a maximum,” Starr said. “Today, we have three cutters, and all they’re doing is trimming, and we’re cutting 20,000 to 40,000 pounds a week. I think Portio could cut a lot more than that.”



Traditional methods often do not lead to better results. Investment in state-of-the-art machinery ultimately yields superior products and more profitability in the long run.

“The biggest scare for everybody, including us, is the upfront cost for a machine like this,” Starr said. “But it’s going to pay for itself in labor savings, and it’s going to pay for itself in yield. We had to remember not to get sticker shock and look at the big picture of everything…I mean, it’s been an awesome piece of equipment. I think it’s our favorite piece of equipment.”

CASE STUDY: Marelec MATRIX portioning software delivers consistency in the kitchen

When some processors see a sub-primal on the production line they consider the business of sorting, packaging, and shipping their finished products. One Las Vegas meat processor we interviewed sees things differently. They think about an A5 Wagyu steak hitting the pan just a few miles away in a busy restaurant kitchen. They think about the effort it takes to feed hundreds of hungry patrons and repeatedly produce the same high-quality meal. Mostly, they think about the value of consistency.

“It’s controlled chaos in those in those kitchens, “the meat processor’s general manager said. “If you have a three-inch fillet and a two-inch fillet, it can throw everything off. I look at meat cutting, and I just see the cooking times.”

Eight years ago, the processor was hand-cutting all its products. They then began experimenting with a Marel portioning machine. While the Marel allowed them to take on larger customers they realized it wasn’t the best machine on the market. It lacked the accuracy and technology he desired to cut perfect portions.

That led the company to purchase a Marelec Portio 3-300 and a grader system from Ross Industries.

Marelec Matrix
Marelec Matrix software generates production reports by shift or program and tracks changes at the machine level.

The Marelec Portio uses state-of-the-art technology to create high-precision portions from whole primals or fish, with the unique ability to cut portions to both a fixed weight and thickness specification. It combines the latest laser vision and camera technology with a highly intelligent cutting algorithm to calculate the exact location of each cut, ensuring equal, fixed weights and optimal product yield.

In addition to the Portio’s ability to cut steaks to both a weight and thickness specifications, the machine also offers a precise level of remote control through its accompanying MATRIX P production software.

MATRIX allows real-time monitoring and remote control of the Portio through a PC, giving production managers on-demand administration over their operations from virtually anywhere. MATRIX P collects all data gathered by the Portio during cutting (weight of the primal, weight of each cut, thickness of the cut, etc.) and then visually represents it in an interface for the production manager to monitor. In addition, the software uses SQL-based data collection which allows for long-term trending and event logging.

“I have full control of what they’re [the production floor] doing,” the GM said. “I can change the program. I can watch the average weight, and I know they’re cutting eights and sixes; if I feel like they’re cutting too heavy, I can literally go into the program, change the settings or the density, and adjust weights.”

The acquisition of the Portio and grading system has changed how the company operates. They have taken on several new larger customers, increasing their daily production volume by magnitudes. Workers who previously were cutters are now trimmers, guaranteeing them job security.

“I actually hired more people because it takes five or six people just to keep up with that machine if you run it right,” he said.

It all goes back to consistency. Investment in the Portio and grader system with MATRIX allows a processor to exert the most control over their production and will pay them back in better yield and in turn, higher profits. The GM views the supreme consistency found in the Portio as his most significant competitive edge.

“If you can give them [a restaurant kitchen] a protein and a spec and a height where they know that steak is going to go down in that pan and it’s the same size; you’re going to have the same cooking time. It’s going to have the same plate presentation. That’s something that we can give them that nobody else can. And we’re able to do that with the Marelec technology,” he said.