Modern-day bakers need to combine their traditional craft skills with state-of-the-art robotics technologies to thrive in their ultra-competitive markets.
FREMONT, CA: Numerous industries worldwide already rely on robots to produce goods more accurately, quickly, and cost-effectively than their human counterparts. This is true in the case of bakeries too. According to a recent report, the baking industry is a dynamic part of the U.S. economy, accounting for nearly 425 billion dollars in total economic output. Imagine the drastic increase in production output. One would see if the majority of commercial bakeries integrate robotics in their operations. Here is how robotics can offer quick wins for bakers.
The deployment of robots in bakeries, whether smaller craft operations or high throughput industrial units, may be valuable to increase system flexibility and availability. If a range of products is baked, manufactured, packed, or manipulated on one line, conventional automation solutions may be insufficiently flexible to enable timely product changeovers. However, robots can hold the needs for several products in their computer memories and be switched from one to the next at the push of a button. Compared to more manual or semi-automated production methods, this means it can be designed to be substantially faster and more cost-efficient. Quality and consistency can be assured, and hygiene never compromised with the help of robots. Robots are often controlled by a camera system or computer vision, which seems naturalistic and easily understandable to operatives who have to work with robots.
The increased use of machine vision solutions allows robots to handle and sort different products by differentiating them according to any number of variables like size, shape, or type. The deployment of vision systems and rapid developments in artificial intelligence and deep learning are creating opportunities to better automate the quality control process in bakeries. Cameras can monitor attributes and use this data to identify deviation from acceptable parameters. A snack that has broken apart can be identified and removed from the production line with robotics.