The pig industry is important for the Danish economy with an export value of more than
DKK 28 billions in 2006 [Danish Meat Association (2007)] and the competition is
increasing. Therefore it is more important than ever to optimize all aspects of Danish
pig production, slaughtering processes and delivery.
The cost of logistical limitations in the equalization room has been estimated to DKK
0.072 per kg or approximately DKK 145 million per year in total for the Danish
The main conclusion is that even relatively simple optimization models can be used to
improve the basis of the slaughterhouses for decision making considerably, both
regarding computing the costs of having limitations in the production as well as the
value of improved measurements and increased slaughter weight. Prices vary from one
week to another, and consequently a price and cost study should be performed before
the computations are used for actual decision support and more products and product
alternatives should be included.
Estimations of the economic consequences of improved measurements and of a general
increase in the slaughter weight have been improved among other things by taking the
logistic limitations into consideration. Compared to the previous model regarding
improved measurements [Kjærsgaard, N. (2008a)], the new model uses the entire pig
and not just the middle piece. Furthermore, the weights of different products are
estimated in much more detail based on the actual registered fat layer and the slaughter
weight for each pig. Regarding increased slaughter weight, the model is now improved
by taking the important logistic limitations into consideration.
This paper concerns the aspects of optimization at the slaughterhouses and addresses the
modelling of physical logistic conditions. The description of the production processes
and the logistic flow in this paper is primarily based on the conditions in one of the
largest Danish slaughterhouses, used as model slaughterhouse.
The model is based on the model described in the paper regarding the value of a general
increase in the slaughter weight for pigs [Kjærsgaard, N. (2008b)] but is more accurate
by taking physical limitations at the slaughterhouses into consideration. The model is a
Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) model and is used to estimate the costs of logistical
limitations in the equalization room being the central cooling room where the carcasses
should hang for a period of approx. 16 hours. Furthermore, the model is used to find
economic effects of improved measurements as well as a general increase in the
slaughter weight. This paper concerns the use of Operations Research to solve these
practical problems, which is of major importance for the industry.
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