Robotics & automation - Articles and news items

Robot chefs are here, and they’re cooking lunch

Industry news  •  11 August 2016  •  Roy Manuell

Join food industry leaders to ponder what food processing will look like at the “Food Manufacturing 2030 Conference” at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach, UK on Thursday 13th October.

Automation essential to sustainable success, says TOMRA Sorting Food

Featured news  •  13 May 2016  •  Tomra

Continued advances in automation and robotics are making the global food manufacturing and processing industries safer, more efficient and able to deliver higher profits, according to TOMRA Sorting Food…

Acceptance of innovative automatic equipment in the postharvest and food industry

Issue 2 2016  •  26 April 2016  •  Idoia Olabarrieta, Senior Researcher, Food Research Division, AZTI-Tecnalia / Izaskun Pérez, Senior Researcher, Food Research Division, AZTI-Tecnalia / Raquel Rodríguez, Food Researcher, Food Research Division, AZTI-Tecnalia / Jaime Zufía, Head of the Efficiency and Sustainability Department, AZTI

PICKNPACK is a large collaborative project granted by the EU within the 7th Frame programme, with the aim of boosting the development and implementation of innovative automatic systems in food industry. In order to find strategic approaches for facilitating greater deployment of new flexible and autonomous robots, sensors and packaging modules in the food industry of today, an acceptance study was done within this sector. This article summarises the main conclusions achieved from that study for both food processing and postharvest sector…

ILS automated plate robots achieve UKAS accreditation

Featured news  •  17 February 2015  •  International Laboratory Services

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service has awarded accreditation for the automated plate handling robots at our new food microbiology testing laboratory in Derby…

Automation supplement 2013

Issue 5 2013, Supplements  •  4 November 2013  •  W. Jeffrey Hurst, Arthur A. Teixeira

Laboratory automation in food analysis (Author: W. Jeffrey Hurst, Hershey Company)
Automation in the food canning industry (Author: Arthur A. Teixeira, University of Florida)

Packaging & Automation Supplement 2012

Issue 3 2012, Supplements  •  5 July 2012  •  Louis Lindenberg, Wayne Daley

Focusing on packaging: the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (Louis Lindenberg, Global Packaging Sustainability Director, Unilever)
Next generation automation systems for food production (Wayne Daley, Principal Research Engineer, Georgia Tech Research Institute)

Automation in the food industry

Issue 4 2011  •  6 September 2011  •  Phil Hoden, Division Reliability Manager, PepsiCo International

Highly competitive retailers constantly squeezing down prices, rising raw material costs and soaring utility charges in a labour-intensive manufacturing environment; why shouldn’t food manufacturers look towards automating their manufacturing processes?

Automating food production can reap many benefits. The ability to replicate the appearance and quality of a product with the minimum use of ingredients not only improves line efficiencies leading to bottom-line profit, but also can potentially increase sales. At the same time, improving the traceability of raw ingredients will provide the added benefit of improved food safety. All of this sounds too good to be true, so why does the food industry lag so far behind other major manufacturers such as the automotive and pharmaceutical industries?

Hygienic assembly and transfer of food products: A demonstration system for the automatic processing of vegetables

Issue 5 2010  •  4 November 2010  •  Anders Pettersson, SlK and John O. Gray, IIT

Food production constitutes the largest European manufacturing sector, employing some four million people and generating an annual turnover of approximately EUR 850 billion of which EUR 50 billion products are exported. The sector is unusual in that a large percentage of its output still depends on manual operations; a situation that is probably due to the way the industry has evolved over previous decades and the fact that a vast number of companies in the sector are SMEs where the take up of automation has been relatively slow throughout the European arena.

Danish Meat Research Institute provides innovative solutions for the global meat industry

Issue 4 2009  •  12 December 2009  •  Lars Hinrichsen, Chief Executive, DMRI

While Denmark is renowned for its high-tech agricultural sector, the Danish Meat Research Institute (DMRI) based in Roskilde provides scientific research and consultancy to make better solutions for tomorrow’s meat industry. Employing a dedicated team of approximately 100 researchers, DMRI develops advanced knowledge on everything from animal welfare before slaughtering to the ideal processes for packaging meat. It puts this knowledge into practice by developing robots and new, safer products to customers in Denmark and further afield. Director Lars Hinrichsen summarises the challenges and opportunities facing the meat sector and shows how DMRI can help the producers tackle those issues.

Major boost for food and drink industry

Issue 3 2008, Past issues  •  18 August 2008  •  Martin Lowe, Managing Director, CenFRA Ltd

Figures suggest that since the start of the 21st century, there has been a three-fold increase in the use of automation and robots in the global food sector. However, many food and beverage producers in the UK appear reluctant to adopt this technological advance.

Novel(Q) robotics to handle food – sensitive and hygienic grippers

Issue 2 2008, Past issues  •  13 June 2008  •  Anders Pettersson, SIK

In 2006, at the Institute for Food and Biotechnology, SIK, in Gothenburg, a research project was started as a part of NovelQ1. The focus of this project is to develop a robot workstation with high flexibility and hygiene that can handle soft, variable and fragile products; in other words, to handle non packaged food products.

A bright outlook for robotics

Issue 3 2006, Past issues  •  11 August 2006  •  Jonas Westlund, Consulting Analyst, Frost & Sullivan

The European market for material handling robots has grown to approximately $800 million in 2005. More interestingly, forecast growth for 2006 of around 15 per cent shows that robots are playing an increasingly important role in the European food and beverage sector.

The implementation of robots help food processors meet heightened demand on operational efficiency and regulations on health and safety and traceability. Moreover, improvements in vision systems are expected to make robots increasingly important in quality assessment processes. The net result is likely to see material handling robot solutions achieve a year-on-year growth in excess of 16 per cent over the next six years to reach $225 million by 2012.