When purchasing a mixer grinder for your food processing facility, restaurant, or convention center, the most confusing choice is the cutting system: do you want an enterprise or unger cutting system?
The names don’t do much to explain the cutting system nor why you would want one over the over. What exactly is an unger and why would you want it in your meat grinder? How does the name enterprise relate to grinding? Which system is best for the ground product you want to produce?
Choosing the correct cutting system is vital to producing the ground product you’ll be proud to put your name on. So how do you choose?
How Meat Grinders Work
Before you can understand the cutting systems of a meat grinder, it helps to understand how a meat grinder works and how it cuts and grinds your meat product. According to the article Meat Processing Technology for Small- to Medium-scale Producers:
A meat grinder is a machine used to force meat or meat trimmings by means of a feeding worm (auger) under pressure through a horizontally mounted cylinder (barrel). At the end of the barrel there is a cutting system consisting of star-shaped knives rotating with the feeding worm and stationary perforated discs (grinding plates). The perforations of the grinding plates normally range from 1 to 13mm. The meat is compressed by the rotating feeding auger, pushed through the cutting system and extrudes through the holes in the grinding plates after being cut by the revolving star knives. Simple equipment has only one star knife and grinder plate, but normally a series of plates and rotary knives is used. The degree of mincing is determined by the size of the holes in the last grinding plate. If frozen meat and meat rich in connective tissue is to be minced to small particles, it should be minced first through a coarse disc followed by a second operation to the desired size.
Cutting Systems Explained
Now that you have the above basic overview of the workings of a meat grinder, it’s time to figure out whether you need an enterprise or unger cutting system.
Enterprise Cutting System
The enterprise cutting system is mainly used in small meat grinders with openings up to 98mm in diameter and consists of one star knife, sharpened only on the side facing the disc, and one grinder plate. This system is most commonly used in meat processing facilities in America.
- 9 – Feed Screw
- 10 – Star knife blade
- 11 – Grinder (hole) plate
Unger Cutting System
The unger cutting system is a bit more complex and is used in meat grinders with opening diameters up to 440mm. The unger cutting system consists of two star knives sharpened on both edges and three grinder hole plates, each with different size holes to make the grinds smaller. This system is most commonly used in meat processing facilities in Europe.
You can purchase Unger cutting systems in either double (2 plates, 1 blade) or triple cut (3 plates, 2 blades) versions. The image below shows a triple cut Unger System.
- 9 – Feed Screw
- 14 – First hole plate (Kidney plate)
- 15 – Star knife blade
- 16 – Second hole plate
- 17 – Second Star knife blade
- 18 – Third hole plate
- 19 – Stud
- 20 – Distance Ring
Make Your Choice
The size of the grinder you plan to buy, as well as your geographical location, play the biggest roles in which cutting system you should use. Smaller grinders require an enterprise cutting system, while larger grinders require the unger cutting system.