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Automation & robotics in food & beverage industry

With the robots, one person can operate four robots and do more work in less time so a huge increase in productivity and lower operating costs. While food and beverage manufactures have utilized this automated robotic production processes for year now, they also have greeted technological advancement with some resistance. But the food and beverage industry in particular has a lot to gain by embracing automation and robotic technology.

Automation is not new to the food and beverage industry. A type of automation, known as process automation, is common in production facilities all over the world. These solutions normally come in the shape of advanced machines that have an automation aspect to them. These machines are typically manned by staff, who feed it with ingredients during the inbound phase of production, which the machine then mixes, cuts or processes in a specific way.

Automation and robotic has the size and experience you need for large production lines. Whether you want to explore automation in material handling, assembly, or packaging, our engineers can build on our existing designs or create a custom solution. Our experience includes automating processes like flex feeding, sealing, case packing, palletizing, and more. We have the capacity and size to complete projects quickly. We’re available for consulting, designing, and deploying automated solutions for big and small food and beverage applications.

Food and beverage automation and robotic is the strategic integration of technology across many processes. Food companies can streamline and optimize their processes using vision-guided robotic arms, automated guided vehicles, delta robots, and advanced inspection systems to guarantee rigorous food safety and quality standards, save labor costs and meet an ever-growing demand.

Today’s modern food plants have a tough challenge. They need to produce high-quality products at high volume while containing costs. Thankfully, automation can help companies reach those goals and scale with companies as the industry grows. Food companies can integrate factory automation equipment for primary packaging, secondary packaging like case packers and tray packers, and material handling robotics for shipping. Now, almost every stage of food packaging can be improved with automation. When buying any product regularly, consumers want consistency. This is especially true when buying food. Flavor and texture are a big part of the experience and should be consistent each time someone consumes the same product. Automation can help with this by eliminating the chance of errors, so you get the same result every time. It also reduces the risk of product recalls.

Machine vision systems can help with this. This technology relies on cameras and software to automatically check products for foreign material, read test strips identifying contaminated food or even identify contaminants that can’t be seen with the naked eye, including cross contaminations that can affect those with allergies.

Automation means workers no longer have to perform repetitive, menial or dangerous tasks. For example, meat cutting is one of the most hazardous operations in food manufacturing. But, if automation is utilized, this risk is greatly reduced. Meat packing plants are now able to use robotic saws, which use computers to cut difficult pieces of meat while it’s still frozen. Using tools like this decreases the risk of injury while production is simultaneously accelerated. Automation also allows the workforce to focus on more critical and rewarding tasks that cannot be completed any other way.

Due to automation and robotic improving sanitation such as the more human contact with food products, the more the risk of contamination. Automated equipment limits the amount of human contact on food and beverages during packaging. Further, as technology advances to become more flexible and configurable, companies can improve logistics and quality.

The main benefits of automation and robotic in food and beverage industry is continue to transform food and beverage manufacturing companies throughout the supply chain and to their customer’s door. To fulfill their promises to customers, companies need to be agile, efficient, and safe. Integrating automated equipment in critical areas of production improves quality, efficiency, ergonomics, and sanitation. Consumer packaged goods companies need accurate and repeatable packaging processes. Individual packaging at high-cycle rates can be challenging, so companies that use robotics in their packaging lines can improve their throughput, efficiency, and quality. From raw product handling to primary packaging, secondary packaging, and palletizing, robotics has proven a high return on investment.

Companies have successfully deployed delta, or six-axis robots and advanced sensors to complete material handling, sealing, packaging, and palletizing in compact footprints. Vision-guided robotics are ideal for completing repetitive tasks such as bottle handling, bin picking, and tray loading quickly and efficiently. With the ecommerce boom, demand for varied pack counts and elaborate packaging is only increasing. Robotics are flexible, and planners can reconfigure the line at the computer to meet your goals. Opportunities for robotics in food packaging grow every year. The food industry has robust requirements for quality, speed, and profitability. Automation is not only an advantage anymore, it’s becoming a necessity.

Coming towards efficiency in terms of Staffing shortages have been common in many industries over the last two years. And while this is a big problem for most, food and beverage manufacturers are ripe for full automation systems. By utilizing robotics for food production, factories can be completely self-sufficient, not to mention work around the clock. Robots can also run self-diagnostics and collect performance data to help improve operations. All of this allows manufacturers to keep up with the ever-present demand for quality food and beverages, even with less staff. Food and beverage distributors on the other hand might not be able to implement full automation, but could utilise semi-automation. By using robotics for picking, moving and stacking products, fewer workers will be needed during loading, while still being more efficient than before.

Challenges for automation and robotic in food and beverages industry is that still a lot of questions for making sure machines are clean enough to handle food to potential cost and limitations as well as smart manufacturing to revolutionise the way food and beverage manufacturers operate, by providing accessibility to relevant, real-time information. Information-enabled manufacturing allows you to combat your biggest challenges like improve yield, drive productivity, mitigate security risks and optimise resource management.

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