Twenty years ago, it was not easy to imagine a robot preparing breakfast for you or making a cup of delicious coffee to wake you up. Still, here we are, advanced technologies reach the boundary of the human and robotic world by helping humans, but not replacing them.
Read further on how cobots are used in food processing and food manufacturing and challenges on the way to its automation.
Although food and beverage automation has been rapidly progressing lately, robotic arms with the robotic accessory ecosystem have experienced multiple challenges.
A variety of shapes and objects in food processing requires standards for a rich ecosystem. Deploying collaborative robots requires a developed system of multiple grippers and other accessories.
A cooking process should have its particular order; otherwise, it will be troublesome to pursue and change the programming algorithm.
As the consumer demand increases, food and beverage manufacturers continuously offer multiple tastes and flavors. It results in SKU complexity and a requirement to stock this tastes’ diversity.
There are different obstacles to providing automation solutions in food manufacturing. However, to overcome these manufacturing challenges, we should dive deeper into the robotic applications in the industry.
Primary processing and secondary processing differ. Primary processing refers to raw food products such as meat, vegetables, and fruits to be sorted, cleaned, and mixed, while secondary processing is focused on creating new food, such as cooking or baking.
One of the fastest-growing robotic applications is fruit & vegetable pick and place. Cobots accurately accomplish the simple task of pick and place, including irregularly shaped objects, such as fruits and vegetables.
Dobot developed an automated solution for picking grapes. DOBOT CR5 robotic arm with an integrated AGV has a precise vision system. A built-in automatic vision helps identify grapes. Afterward, DOBOT CR5 picks fruits and places them into the box.
Collaborative robots provide an innovative solution in cutting and slicing technology. Food manufacturing is a complicated process requiring massive manual work, and cutting or slicing is a significant part of the cumbersome process. It is sometimes overwhelming and even dangerous for human workers to cut or slice so that collaborative robots can remove these production bottlenecks.
Although cake decoration is about having a design taste, a robotic alternative to a manual decoration is also worth innovating. Decorating a cake is a frontier of robotic automation because it saves time and accelerates the efficiency in the long run of food manufacturing.
DOBOT CR5 can decorate a cake with a taste for every holiday.
Is not it romantic?
Picking and placing as a robotic application in food manufacturing has different options, including both picking raw products (mentioned above) and other food, such as traditional Chinese dumplings, as an example.
After boiling Siu Mai dumplings, chefs have to pick them and place them on a plate. As they are hot enough, it is better not to use manual work. That is why deploying Dobot collaborative robots is much more efficient than employing a human for the same task. And DOBOT MG400 will not require extra pay for the night shift.
Food packaging is a stack of robotic automation, as there is always a need for wrapping food.
Food packaging can be automated using cobots as a significant part of the food material handling process.
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