Exclusive Food and Beverage Robotic Applications

posts by alisajones

Date/Time
Date(s) - 08/07/2018 - 08/31/2018
12:30 am - 4:15 am

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Industrial robots are often associated with the electronics and automotive industries. However, there have been advancements in both robotic accessories and robots recently. Today, robots are capable of performing a wide range of operations in various industries such as the aerospace, food and beverage industry, and pharmaceutical and medical fields.

There has been an emergence of many functional robots for these industries compared to some years back when their availability was limited. Complex applications that require specialized solutions are on the increase today which calls for more evolutions in the robotic industry.

·         Food and Beverage Applications

The food and beverage industry is one of the fastest growing globally. Again, it is one of the most critical industries in the robotic realm. In the past, applications in the food production industry were manually executed. However, they were extremely repetitive and posed risks to the human workers. An industrial robot arm can alleviate the risks involved in food production plants. What’s more, robots are consistent, efficient, cleaner, and more flexible than human workers.

The future seems bright for both secondary and primary packaging applications as more players in the food production industry use them in various activities such as, putting food in trays and tray handling. According to Universal Robots researchers, robotic execution of tasks in the food sector comes in four groups which are picking, processing, palletizing, and case packaging.

Until recently, food processing robots were limited to the palletizing tasks only. Today, however, both robotic and tooling advancements are upgrading them from palletizing to secondary and primary packaging, to direct product handling before packaging or wrapping. Universal Robots researchers are also researching on direct food handling robots.

They opine that in the future, robots will be capable of handling fresh foods such as sliced meat as companies look forward to cutting down labor expenses. Again, the researchers say that robots capable of handling pastries will soon be readily available. There are various factors to consider before choosing food production robots as seen below.

·        Inconsistency Variance

Food unlike industrial products varies in shape and size. Flexible and vision end effectors control these differences. Tooling for food product picking is challenging. Players in the food production industry should aim at having a tooling arm end that is capable of achieving intended rates and carefully handling the product without damaging it. In addition, it should be easy to clean, and they should focus on tooling that caters for the differences in various food products.

Remember, vision can be programmed to turn down foreign products. Currently, food production companies are utilizing robots for various reasons. However, many of them want to ease handling due to the product differences as well as diversify their products from their competitors. There are different types of food handling robots today to choose from.

·         Hygiene

Robots play an important role in upholding food safety and hygiene. Humans can pose a threat to safe processing practices when it comes to food. Unlike humans, robots never collect contaminants, are consistent, and do not become cold. According to studies, a big percentage of food related diseases are spread by infected people.

When companies do not practice high hygiene practices, they can be laden with extreme financial burdens. In many robot applications, integrators develop work cells in order to safeguard the robot from the surroundings. Safeguarding both the product and the surroundings is critical in food applications. Robots used in the food industry are specially designed using stainless steel for easy cleaning.

In order to endure the severe cleaning process, both the end effectors and the robots should adhere to the sanitation requirements. The food robot design is also critical. They should be easy to clean and scrutinize to ensure that contaminates are not left in crevices and hard to clean areas.

Finally

Many industries today have adopted the use of robotic applications to enhance production. Additionally, robots play a huge role in enhancing productivity, efficiency, precision, and completing repetitive tasks fast. Modern day robots are advanced enough to allow collaboration with human workers within the same workspace. Human workers can now concentrate on more skill developing tasks as the robots complete high risk tasks.