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Food and Beverages | Thursday, October 08, 2020
Food manufacturing has evolved to be a complicated process that involves cooking, sorting, preparing, packaging, and palletizing. Industrial robots are rising to be integrated to save time and space, as well as improve cleanliness and safety.
Fremont, CA: Robots have opened up new possibilities with their capability of precise movements for packaging and processing food safely and securely, starting from chicken to Peeps. According to a recent survey by the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, robotics performs about a third of food processing and more than 90 percent of packaging operations. Automation in this sector is expected to evolve sharply as advancements in machine vision, and gripper technologies allow robotics to make precise movements and handle delicate items in a better way than they had been doing in the past.
Major food companies are working together with robotics partners in order to deploy new technologies. New vision technologies, AI, and sensors are enabling robotics to be more flexible and adaptable in food manufacturing and help them to take more roles in production in recent years. High-resolution vision sensors provide better identification of part sizes, orientations, and geometries in innovative ways. Additionally, gripping technologies such as vacuum grippers also enable robotic arms to be more delicate and precise.
Improves Safety and Addressing Labor Issues
The manufacturers are making robotic arms and machinery to withstand the rigorous cleaning requirements that they have to face while handling food. The use of better seals, new materials, and designs support the robotics to bear the heat, cold, water, and corrosive cleaning chemicals. Numerous robots are being designed with food-grade grease, epoxy paints for mechanical components, more enclosures, and better sealing to support an IP67 waterproofing rating.
Robots are also considered to be tangible means to increase food safety and lessen the chances of contamination, as they cannot fall sick or carry along human pathogens. Robots also reduce heavy lifting, increasing highly repetitive and dangerous tasks, also decrease injuries on the job, and better workplace safety.