Robotics & Food Manufacturing 4.0. Are you ready?


Whether robots really belong in a food factory is becoming less of a deliberation and more of a realisation that; In order for the food industry to improve and grow, robotics and automation WILL play a major role in the food manufacturing process.Andrea Paoli reveals how robots have taken root so far in are manufacturing systems and are set to revolutionise the food industry in Food Manufacturing 4.0 and beyond. Please see below to view his slides.

The value of robotics

Andrea Paoli presented a number of very enlightening figures when introducing the impact robotics will have in the future. Here are a few to really set the scene:

  • The Bank of England in November 2015 predicted that over the next decade, 15 million jobs will be taken over by robots.

  • In 2020, the robot market is expected to hit a value over $83 thousand million.

  • It is predicted that the global saving for using robotics in terms of labour cost is 16%.

  • By increasing investment in automation by £1.2 billion, this could raise the overall value added by the manufacturing sector to the UK economy by £60.5 billion. This could safeguard 106,000 jobs.

Since the industrial revolution, robots have gone from mechanical production equipment driven by water and steam all the way to cyber-physical systems which integrate computers, networking and physical processes. The degree of the complexity of robotics forever increasing. As you can see from the videos in Andrea's slides, the capabilities of robotics and automation have increased and improved dramatically. Is there anything they won’t be able to do?

Andrea Paoli Robots & Food Manufacturing 4.0


Deborah Stokoe

So what does Food Manufacturing 4.0 look like?

Robotics and automation have progressed in such a way it is safe for them to work in collaboration with humans (HRC systems - Human/Robot Collaborative systems). They can work to full capacity 24/7 producing the same results they’re programmed to complete. This is impossible for humans to achieve to the same degree of accuracy and consistency.

Therefore, there is a massive opportunity for an increase in productivity for food manufacturers due to the reduced cycle and turnaround times. A robot can work within stabilised conditions without human interface. Not only does this improve the health and safety of the factory, it can also increase the shelf life of products contributing to reducing waste which is a very hot topic at the moment!

Working together with the University of Lincoln, OAL has been championing Food Manufacturing 4.0 and have developed a robotic chef APRIL. APRIL is facing up to the challenges food production is facing to introduce a flexible, automated, continuous, high volume system to food manufacturers. Read more about APRIL and her talents here.

How will a Future Food Factory Look?

A factory of the future will run on big data being used intelligently to improve decision making and planning. Cloud computing will allow for anything to be controlled, recorded or reported in real-time. With humans collaboratively working together with robots along with all the big data that will be available, factories will be able to optimise production, reduce wastage and improve product consistency and quality.

How to get there?

Innovation and investment. Join OAL on this journey by helping us educate the industry to deliver disruptive change in manufacturing securing your factory’s future as well as the future of the food manufacturing industry.

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