A Poultry Plant's Future: What Does It Look Like?

Food and Beverages | Monday, July 11, 2022

Technology advancements are reforming the poultry production and processing industries, which will appear significantly distinct in the following years than they do now.

Fremont, CA: Humans are on the edge of the fourth industrial revolution, also called Industry 4.0, which is distinguished by the convergence of numerous technologies, for example, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), nanotechnologies, autonomous systems, quantum computing, and a completely interconnected internet-of-things. It envisions an open manufacturing floor without people needing to be physically present.

In 20 years, a coming chicken processing facility could look considerably different, owing to the emerging Industry 4.0 paradigm. While the poultry industry's automation is progressive compared to other animal protein manufacturing/processing operations, a closer examination signifies that the basic processing activities have remained unchanged for the past 50 years.

The "lot size of one" notion will undoubtedly be central to any future processing plant. Compared to conventional production, the natural unpredictability, flexibility, and destructive qualities of poultry processing and the product's food safety and perishable nature have all been roadblocks. These issues have hampered the automation of targeted throughput, yield, and quality metrics. Many of these issues can be solved under the Industry 4.0 paradigm, in which each corpse is scanned thoroughly and processed as a single unit or lot.

The function and responsibility of labour on the processing plant floor have also changed dramatically. Having workers virtually operate or support robotic systems from anywhere using VR equipment connected to processing plant work cells is possible. Employees will manage remotely to keep robotic processing work cells, handling only the most complex or challenging activities that intelligent technologies cannot perform independently.

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