While food and beverage manufacturers have utilized automated production processes for years now, they also have greeted technological advancement with some resistance. But the food and beverage industry in particular has a lot to gain by embracing automation technology.
When buying any product regularly, consumers want consistency. This is especially true when buying food. Flavor and texture are a big part of the experience and should be consistent each time someone consumes the same product. Automation can help with this by eliminating the chance of errors, so you get the same result every time. It also reduces the risk of product recalls.
Machine vision systems can help with this. This technology relies on cameras and software to automatically check products for foreign material, read test strips identifying contaminated food or even identify contaminants that can’t be seen with the naked eye, including cross contaminations that can affect those with allergies.
Automation means workers no longer have to perform repetitive, menial or dangerous tasks. For example, meat cutting is one of the most hazardous operations in food manufacturing. But, if automation is utilized, this risk is greatly reduced. Meat packing plants are now able to use robotic saws, which use computers to cut difficult pieces of meat while it’s still frozen.
Using tools like this decreases the risk of injury while production is simultaneously accelerated. Automation also allows the workforce to focus on more critical and rewarding tasks that cannot be completed any other way.
Staffing shortages have been common in many industries over the last two years. And while this is a big problem for most, food and beverage manufacturers are ripe for full automation systems. By utilizing robotics for food production, factories can be completely self-sufficient, not to mention work around the clock. Robots can also run self-diagnostics and collect performance data to help improve operations. All of this allows manufacturers to keep up with the ever-present demand for quality food and beverages, even with less staff.
Food and beverage distributors on the other hand might not be able to implement full automation, but could utilize semi-automation. By using robotics for picking, moving and stacking products, less workers will be needed during loading, while still being more efficient than before.
We understand there are still a lot of questions about automation in the food and beverage industry—from making sure machines are clean enough to handle food to potential cost and limitations. Automate is here to help. Join us in Detroit, May 22–25, 2023, to see some of this tech in action and get answers to your burning questions. Register for the Automate show FREE today!
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