By Steve Davis, Ph.D.
Robots have transformed manufacturing in nearly every industrial sector and also have elevated efficiency and product consistency. However, until lately, food manufacturing continues to be the best for this trend. You will find a lot of reasons with this, but probably the most frequently reported is the fact that, unlike most items, food items by their very character differ considerably in consistency and shape. This presents a substantial challenge to automated processing methods.
The Meals Industry
The meals manufacturing industry is among the biggest manufacturing industries in many European nations. It signifies some 13 % of manufacturing within the Eu, adds roughly €900 billion towards the economy and utilizes some 4 million people. It's a very different and fragmented industry with large and incredibly small producers however, the huge majority could be considered small-to-medium-size businesses (SMEs).
Food manufacturing and set up is principally carried out by hand, which is particularly so in SMEs. Presently, a few of the bigger producers use condition-of-the-art automation this isn't as prevalent in SMEs, where both technical infrastructure and investing on engineering development and research are considerably lower.
Food retail within Europe is commonly centered on a somewhat few major merchants consequently, these merchants possess a significant affect on range of products and prices. However, some general issues faced by food producers include pressure to lessen costs, competition from non-European nations, interest in a larger number of items, shorter lead occasions, growing awareness of food and clean standards and environment legislation.
Current Manufacturing Methods
The meals manufacturing industry has its own roots inherited kitchen, as meals are prepared inside a factory that's basically a bigger form of the domestic atmosphere. As production demand elevated, bigger companies saw the advantage of automation. It was particularly so for finish-of-line packaging and palletizing. More lately, the supply of impressive pick-and-place robots permitted automation to maneuver upstream and undertake procedures with actual food items on production lines. However, scalping strategies are presently only generally placed on our prime-volume, lengthy-existence, single-products. More compact companies, which constitute over 90 % of European food producers, happen to be much reduced to include automation. The reason why with this include limited low-cost labor and expertise, market unpredictability, a thought that automation is unacceptable for that set up of soppy, variable, fragile, slippery/sticky natural items and also the predominance of short-term orders, which frustrated capital opportunities in automation.