Meat your Maker

Meat your Maker

Engineering Meat Processing Blades

In today’s highly competitive market, meat processing plants tend to have the same aims – cutting costs and increasing profits are obviously important, but so is reducing waste, improving efficiency and boosting quality. It can be tricky to try to achieve all of these objectives simultaneously, and many companies find themselves struggling to figure out which of these aspects to prioritise.

But every now and then one comes across something that can help producers to accomplish numerous goals at the same time and can help to reduce costs whilst also improving product quality. A great example of this is a well-designed industrial machine blade.

To find out a little more about how machine knives are evolving to meet processors’ needs, Meat Review caught up with Mikko Brunner, MD of Renlaw – a Cape-Town based machine knife manufacturer and Africa’s leading supplier of industrial cutting tools.

Over the last three decades, Renlaw’s industrial blade business has grown to support many industries, but their main focus is on food processing and packaging. The majority of Renlaw’s customers are in the protein market, but they also provide solutions for ready-meals, fruits and vegetables, snacks and confections.

What is the total cost of ownership?

‘It is human nature to be drawn to consumables that are well-priced. But that can be very short-sighted,’ Mikko says. ‘It really does pay to think long-term, especially in industries such as food-processing where you’re hoping to get a long sharp-life out of tools.’

He goes on to explain that once blades stop performing well, the operational costs can add up very quickly. ‘When the cut isn’t clean anymore, your scrap rate increases. You also end up needing to do more frequent blade cleaning because of increased product build-up. Add up the labour costs and the cost of production loss during stoppages due to blade cleaning and blade changes, as well as the cost of new, replacement blades and you’ll find that choosing cheap blades over quality blades can really affect a company’s bottom line.’

That’s why Renlaw manufactures only export-quality blades that make consistent, high-quality cuts and have a long ‘sharp-life’, or lifespan. Their blades may cost a little more than cheap imports from the East, but the total cost of ownership is considerably lower.

Mikko provides a simple way to make purchasing decisions based on total cost of ownership rather than upfront price.

First, count the number of cuts you’re getting from a cheaper blade before it needs to be replaced and then compare it to how many cuts you get from a Renlaw blade. ‘You could be getting 1 000 cuts with the other supplier’s blade and 2 500 cuts with ours,’ Mikko says.  ‘That’s not just going to give you more than double the number of cuts, it’s also going to eliminate the need for a blade change-over, and the associated loss of output while your production line stands still. That’s a real saving in both production time and blade cost.’

Also keep the cost of product loss in mind when working out the total value of a top-quality blade. Mikko explains: ‘In poultry plants, if a machine blade makes a ragged cut, producers might not be able to use that piece as-is, and it might need to go towards making lower-profit products such as chicken nuggets. A blade that consistently makes clean, reliable cuts ensures that producers end up with less scrap, more high-value end-products and ultimately, more profit.’

Achieving better cuts with customization

It is common for machine manufacturers and agents to provide clients with generic, multi-purpose knives that can cut many different materials. While this practise certainly makes life easier for agents, manufacturers should know that continuing to use generic blades is not necessarily the best or the most financially sensible idea for their business. ‘A blade that is specifically engineered with a certain product or application in mind will always outperform a “standardized” blade,’ explains Mikko, ‘and a better-cutting blade will last longer and can drastically improve a machine’s performance.’

‘When customers approach us looking for design modifications for blades, the possibilities are almost endless. It’s an advantage to be locally based as we are able to work closely with clients and get to know the specific conditions in factories,’ Mikko explains. The geometries of cutting tools’ “teeth” affect the cutting performance of the blades as well as the cut-quality of the product. Renlaw offers a range of different tooth shapes, according to the customers’ needs. They also look at the tooth pitches, which affect the cut-quality of the product, and can make recommendations on which specific toolsteels will work best and whether blades should be PVD-coated to further improve their performance.

This type of innovation illustrates why Renlaw is more than a blade manufacturer. They’re a solutions provider. ‘Whether it’s the tooth design, specialty steel or PVD-coating, we pride ourselves on improving blades to give our customers a leg up. We’ve been in this business for a long time now and our experience in blade modification really sets us apart from our competitors. We get consistently positive feedback, with customers noticing just how much longer our modified blades last when compared to the original, generic designs. It’s a great compliment to us and keeps our clients loyal to our brand,’ Mikko concludes.

Looking to the future of the protein industry

The South African meat producing industry is becoming increasingly automated. Mikko agrees that this is a move in the right direction, since automation increases output while decreasing product handling. ‘But,’ he continues, ‘blade manufacturers have a responsibility to take their blades to a higher level of consistency and repeatability. In an automated setting, cuts have to be exactly the same, every single time.’

As the industry moves in new directions, Mikko explains that Renlaw will be able to meet their customers’ changing needs by doubling down on the core principles that have been key to their success:

  • Renlaw only sells high quality products which are either locally made or imported from vetted suppliers who are the best in their field.
  • Renlaw can customise cutting tools to optimise their performance.

  • Renlaw also offers, on agreement, strategic stockholding for customers to ensure that they are well supported should their own stock be depleted.
  • Renlaw uses only the best German toolsteels which are selected, machined, vacuum hardened and precision CNC ground to suit their required applications, ensuring consistent high quality and performance.

  • As over 90% of Renlaw’s blades are manufactured inhouse, they are able to cut out the ‘middleman’ and offer products at highly competitive prices

To find out more about how the right blades can help you save money while boosting productivity and profits, visit


Meat processing blades
New Engineering, New Machines – Blades Sharper and Faster than ever.

New Engineering, New Machines – Blades Sharper and Faster than ever.

The MVM PX1000

Introducing the newest member of the Renlaw team

Renlaw is proud to be adding to our prestigious collection of high-end blade manufacturing and re-sharpening machinery with one of the most sought-after professional blade sharpening machines.

This elegant specimen of expert engineering will support Renlaw’s existing blade resharpening services. The MVM PX1000 make us even more capable in assisting our clients than ever. The MVM PX1000 means a faster turn around time than ever on resharpening. Expect the same top quality results our customers have come to expect from Renlaw.

Why does resharpening mean so much to us? It’s simple – resharpening fits in with our commitment to providing sustainable, high quality products to our customers. Other blade manufacturers may sell cheap, disposable blades that need to be replaced frequently. Renlaw believes in providing products that last, blades that stay sharp, and service which allows you to keep using those blades for that much longer.

Call us old fashioned – but Renlaw upholds the belief that quality and excellent workmanship are more important than quick fixes.

We stand against the disposable culture. Our way of doing things is motivated by two of our most important core beliefs: Quality products are our pride; and sustainable practices ensure a better future for generations to come.

Currently, our resharpening services are utilized predominantly by our Cape Town based clients, but we are working towards growing this service further afield. After all,Renlaw is Africa’s leading blade manufacturer.

Are you an engineering enthusiast like us?

Do you love to analyse the specs and compare the thought processes that went into engineering the best of the best machines and products?

If you do, this link is for you.

Read more about theMVM PX1000 and all of it’s specs HERE.


The MVM PX1000

Engineering Stats for Enthusiasts

More about Renlaw’s new MVM PX1000 machine 

Things the Renlaw Engineers are geeking out about right now…

This beautiful MVM PX1000 has a useful grinding length of mm 1000 and has a magnetic chuck mm 117 wide and rotating from 0° to 90°. The grinding wheel motor is 3 HP, it has a reduction gear for the carriage feed 0,15 HP with fixed speed, adjustable carriage run by means of two adjustable mechanical stops, automatic wheel downfeed controlled by a potentiometer, head inclination +/- 3°. 

The basement is built in electro-welded steel and it undergoes a stress relieving treatment at a temperature of 650° in order to eliminate any stress, as well as to guarantee stability in time and precision. 

The sliding guides of the carriage are all one piece, and after undergoing planning and grinding procedures, both upper and lateral, they are covered by high precision tempered and rectified steel strips. 

The rotating chuck has two mechanical stops at 0° and 90° and is supplied with two stepped knife holders for the sharpening of four planer knives at once and with four clamping devices. On the operator side, two adjustable mechanical stops allow the choice of the carriage run length. 

The carriage is made in solid metal carpentry. 

It slides over four adjustable bearings with high precision. A reduction gear put in motion by a three-phase motor positioned on the basement moves the carriage by means of a trapezoidal belt. 

The grinding head is solid and compact and has a two poles motor, an electronic wheel down-feed, a ceramic cup wheel and can be tilted. 

The electric & electronic equipment is built in accordance to European safety Norms and it differs according to the options requested. A particular technique in the preparation of the surfaces, and the use of paints having a high chemical and mechanical resistance allow the machine to be highly resistant to the corrosive effects of the coolant over time. 

Grinding wheel downfeed and spark out cycle can be programmed on this model. 

Over the grinding head, the machine has a vernier by means of which the total material to be removed can be programmed: once this amount has been removed, the grinding wheel downfeed stops and the spark out working cycle begins. 

Digital programmer main functions: 

  • grinding wheel
  • motor start
  • water pump and magnetic cleaner start 
  • Carriage travel start 
  • magnetic chuck on 

It can also set following parameters: grinding wheel partial downfeed, sparkout time, carriage speed, grinding wheel downfeed at right side or right/left sides, and grinding wheel downfeed delay time. Once the machine has completed every working cycles, it stops automatically.

PPM February 2021

PPM February 2021

Africa’s leading industrial cutting blade manufacturer – The Ideal Slitting Process

Our MD Mile Brunner sheds some light on the slitting process and packaging blades – with companies needing to maintain customer satisfaction and meet quality expectations, we break down three slitting and cutting processes. By giving manufacturers the best insight into creating smooth and consistent cuts with their industrial cutting blades, regardless of packaging materials or shapes, they can minimize waste and maximise efficiency.

Industrial Cutting Solutions

Industrial Cutting Solutions

Blade Manufacturing & Production

The vast majority of production and manufacturing processes require some kind of cutting. Whether it’s parts, food, or packaging materials, things have to be shaped, sized and cut out to create the perfect product.

That’s where machine blades come in. There’s an art to the creation of top-quality industrial cutting tools, which must be carefully manufactured to give them both long sharp-lives and the excellent cutting edges needed to cut through a myriad of materials cleanly, efficiently, and precisely.

What makes an excellent blade?

What sets industrial machine blades apart from other blades? What allows them to cut through even the toughest of materials while other knives struggle to cut through the skin of a tomato?

The answer is not just that machine blades are incredibly sharp. The secret is finding the optimal cutting geometries and the ideal balance between hardness, toughness, and strength (and yes, there is actually a difference).

The blade’s hardness

This is the knife’s resistance to indentation, scratching, and wear, measured with the Rockwell scale. The higher the Rockwell number, the harder the metal is. But hard doesn’t equate to tough or durable, and in fact, if something is too hard it can break or chip easily.

Think of a glass chopping board and a wooden chopping board. The wooden board will be easier to scratch than the glass one but if you drop them both the glass board will probably shatter, whilst the wooden board will be fine.

The blade’s toughness

This is how well a knife resists breaking force – the ability to bend and deform rather than crack. Toughness involves some elasticity, which allows the knife to take on the stress of use without breaking. 

The blade’s strength

This is the measure of the blade’s resistance to deformation — the ability to maintain its shape when forces are applied to it.


For the perfect blade, you need the right blend of hardness, toughness, and strength, and this will vary according to what kind of material is being cut and under what working conditions.

We control this by carefully selecting the best type of steel as well as the hardening and heat-treatment processes that best suit each specific application.

All of this is critical to ensure that your blades withstand the demands of a tough production environment. 

What kinds of machine blades are there?

Due to the fact that there is an enormous variation in the type of materials that need to be cut in production facilities, there is a huge range of blades types available, in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Depending on what you’re producing and cutting, there’s a knife out there that’s best suited to your industry. A few types of machine blades include:


Circular knives – a versatile blade used in a number of industries, from food to packaging and print to the automotive and metal working industries.

 Straight knives – this encompasses many different types of blades, everything from rubber croppers to apple slicers.


Pineapple slicers

Toothed knives – A common type of knife, this is any blade with a serrated edge, used for cutting meat, plastic, metal and paper, just to name a few.

 Small perf blades

Tray-form knives – These are shaped blades most often used in the convenience food and packaging industry.

 Rectangular tray knives

Shear blades – Used in a number of industries, these can function like oversized scissor sets.


Metal cutting saw blades – As the name suggests, these saws are adept at cutting through metal.

Tooth type HZ - Metal Cutting Blades


Boost your production with quality industrial cutting tools

All industries in production stand to benefit from having well crafted, durable industrial knives. Knives that last longer keep your downtime to a minimum, and sharper knives don’t just cut quickly, they cut precisely, improving the quality of your products and maximizing your efficiency.

To support a number of industries, we offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of machine knives and blade sharpening services in Cape Town. We support the food-processing, poultry, packaging, printing, film, automotive, and converting industries, amongst others.

Renlaw is the leading blade manufacturer in South Africa, supporting an extensive range of businesses with quality machine knives and industrial sharpening services. Browse our collection of knives to find the perfect industrial cutting implements for you or contact us to discuss your individual blade and production requirements.