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  • Primal Inflation

    What is primal inflation?

    At Cutting Edge Services, we’ve always been committed to giving you ‘the edge’ over your competition – and in addition to our wide range of butchery knives, meat cleavers and knife sharpening products, we’re widely recognised as one of the undisputed market leaders of primal air inflation services. Since it’s a service offered by relatively few organisations in the UK, you might not be fully up to speed on exactly what it involves – so we’ve sat down with Karl Bushell, our Product Manager for our range of hand tools, to explain what it’s all about.

    So Karl – what is primal inflation?

    Primal inflation is basically the term we use for the process of using specialised equipment to inject air into a primal cut of meat, such as the forequarters or hindquarters of a cut of beef or pork. What that does is inflate the connective tissues between the muscles, so that it’s easier to cut them cleanly.

    Crucially, the air that we use is filtered and sterile – that means it’s free from any foreign bodies like oil and water molecules, or bacteria in the air. We obviously can’t work with air that hasn’t been carefully sterilised beforehand, as it would otherwise make the cut unsuitable for use. That would mean a lot of wastage!

    In terms of the species it works best with, we primarily use it on beef and pork. To be honest if you’re thinking about taking advantage of this service, those are the ones I’d recommend. We tend to use primal inflation just before the deboning process begins, where it’s processed by the operators.

    What are the benefits of primal inflation?

    Take your pick! Improved efficiency and productivity, reduced trim, boosted yield, a reduction in RSI, and overall improved operator welfare are all amongst the potential benefits that businesses can enjoy.

    Okay, so to break those down quickly – the whole process is basically designed to make it easier for time-pressed butchers to make a more accurate cut. Butchery obviously a very physically demanding job, and things move very quickly on a PACE line, so however much skill and experience operators have, eventually fatigue can start to set in (especially towards the end of a long day or week) and that can lead to reduced accuracy and greater trim.

    By making it easier to cut the muscles cleanly, primal inflation can help to significantly reduce the physical effort required for each cut. That means operators can keep making more accurate cuts for longer throughout the day, resulting in fewer miscuts and improved efficiency, which can provide valuable opportunities for a boosted yield.

    And equally (if not more) importantly, it can also help employees to stay happier and healthier too. It makes the job less physically taxing, and reduces the risk of workplace injuries like repetitive strain injury – particularly common in the food processing industry.

    How does primal inflation work?

    While the technology involved is obviously pretty sophisticated, the process itself is surprisingly simple. It all happens during a visit to a client’s premises – the beauty of the process is that it requires very little external equipment to get up and running, as it draws from the existing compressed air available on-site.

    We’ll send a small team (which often includes me), and bring a small unit with us. We’ll start with some basic tests to ensure that everything is in working order. Then, once the air compressor is connected to our unit, we can start sterilising it. The air that comes out of the other side of the unit is completely contamination-free, ensuring that there’s no cross-contamination.

    Using our own in-house expertise, we’ll then determine the location and duration of the injection for each cut of meat. Depending on the application in question, we’ll sometimes inject it in multiple places. The rate of inflation for each cut of meat varies, but most can be done in seconds, so you’ll generally be able to do several in a minute.

    Then, the injected primal cut begins the process of being broken down into its component parts, which typically happens on a PACE line. There, operators can more easily cut through the connective tissue, minimising trim, improving efficiency… you get the idea, we discussed all that a few moments ago.

    Once the cut reaches the end of the PACE line, it’s then ready to get packaged and delivered.

    How do you train customers on the process?

    Again, it’s all pretty simple. We’ll start with a visit to the customer’s site, where we’ll identify the best area to set up the equipment. My personal expertise means I’m generally a permanent fixture of these visits; I’m a fully qualified multi-species hand tool specialist (bit of a mouthful, I know!), so I’m the one who typically provides training to all the customer’s operators on how the entire process works. That includes hands-on demonstrations, so that they can see exactly what I’m talking about.

    I’ll cover all the most important aspects, ensuring that the customer’s staff knows all about:

    Then once we’ve completed a successful installation, we’ll provide an aftercare package with regular visits to the customer’s site. That can take some of the stress off our customers if any of their trained staff leave in the interim, as we can make sure they’ve always got enough staff in-house who know how the entire process works.

    Why choose Cutting Edge Services for primal air inflation?

    Lots of reasons! For starters, Cutting Edge is BRCGS certified, so our customers can be sure we know exactly how to ensure that products meet (or exceed) the legal standards for safety, compliance, and high quality.

    I’d say definitely one of the biggest reasons why our customers are drawn to us is that we’re one of the few to offer a full-package solution – our service encompasses both in-depth knowledge and expert advice, and we’re able to provide our customers with all the tools and equipment they need to get the job done.

    And of course, we’ll be able to provide full demonstrations of these tools, so our customers know how they can continually get the best out of them. (I’ve done countless personal demonstrations myself, so not only are you getting some top-tier equipment, it also means you’re getting a bit of free labour for the day!)

    Primal inflation is a relatively new market in the UK, and our in-house knowledge and experience of it here at Cutting Edge Services makes us undisputed market leaders in the field. Thanks to that expertise, we’ve also got a strong history of identifying new applications for primal air inflation too – we’ve discovered several new ones this year alone, maximising its benefits for certain customers with specific needs.

    I can confidently say that when it comes to helping our customers get the best out of primal air inflation, we are second to none.

    So, those are all the essentials covered! If you’ve still got any additional questions about our primal air inflation service though, our experts are here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us, and we’ll provide all the answers and advice you need, whether that’s to do with primal air inflation, our knife sharpening service, or any of the knives and steels or other products here at Cutting Edge Services. Just give us a call on 01772 956 270, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.

    For further information regarding the Cutting Edge Knife Service, butchery supplies or the best knife for your application, please contact our team of specialists. We're here to help.

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