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Is the Future of the Meat Industry Bright with Robotic Automation?

Food and Beverages | Monday, October 04, 2021

The Meat industry has begun to employ robots to automate some tasks, spurred by COVID-19.

FREMONT, CA: Corporations have only one primary motive when they adopt new technologies in all fields. Food sales are growing because of disruptive new technologies. As organizations are going digital, there is a greater focus on collecting data and increased machinery control in the meat sector than previously. Still, in light of the significant reduction in meat production following the spread of the corona virus, several enterprises have had to close their facilities or significantly cut their personnel. Amid the recent dilemma, automation is being seen as the most delicate possible remedy.

Even while Reuters reports that many major meat-producing and exporting nations, including the United States, Canada, and Brazil, are falling behind countries like Northern Europe and Japan in automating their industrial facilities, these countries remain some of the most important industrial centers. While COVID-19 inflicted a hefty blow to this labor-intensive sector, the appalling working conditions were apparent to everyone. Meat processing in the United States used to be known for being extremely dangerous before the outbreak because of frequent repetitive motion injuries. The risks of product contamination are significant. Workers and product safety are put at risk in meat-cutting factories, which is worsened by the many hazards of the meat-cutting process. And to match each product's shape and type of cut, all meatpacking operations are customized to include the features unique to each product.

On the other hand, terrible working conditions, long hours with no breaks, and poor compensation make these occupations unpleasant and undesirable, making it difficult to recruit workers. COVID-19 also called for shifting to automation to alleviate its labor problem, which is a very awesome thing. Researchers are seeking a new production model for the meat industry since the increased attention on social distancing is potentially bad for workers in meatpacking, meat processing, and distribution centers.

In general, automation can be integrated into and throughout the entire process, starting with manufacturing, moving on through slaughtering, and concluding with processing. Human employees are necessary, but even if they do the bulk of the work, they need a significant amount of support and oversight, meaning the help of technologies like robotics and automation is crucial.

Several big firms such as Tyson Foods, Smithfield, Cargill, and JBS are conducting modernization efforts at their plants and are implementing various automation techniques. The poultry giant Tyson Foods has pumped more money into automating the meat business. Tyson used the automation facility in Arkansas to test a robot this summer that may help get chicken breasts off a conveyor belt and into tray packs for the supermarket store.

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