Top 5 Ways Robotics Is Transforming the Food Industry
The food sector comprises multiple complicated procedures that robots are increasingly assisting in optimizing. Food robots have specific programming to assist with food cultivation and production jobs from the agricultural stages through restaurants, cooking at home, and grocery shops. Robots make each stage more prepared to satisfy supply and demand with increased productivity and safety. Robotics has an impact on every step of the food supply chain. Here are five ways it is impacting the industry.
The food business is transforming. Food consumption is increasing as the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion. Food providers are under pressure to boost their efficiency. Not only that, but customers demand higher-quality, more sustainable food at their fingertips.
Automation and robotics are essential elements of the solution. The food business has been somewhat reluctant to embrace robotics compared to other industries. However, in recent years, robots have begun to penetrate practically every component in the food supply chain, from the farm to the kitchen. Food robots have specific programming to help food development and production, from agricultural to restaurants, home cooking, and grocery shops. Robots allow you to match supply and demand at every stage by increasing productivity and safety.
Agriculture is the foundation of the food business. Agriculture produces meat, vegetables, and dairy products. With the task of producing these food goods, agricultural businesses should rely on robots to handle each stage appropriately. Two of the most frequent robotic applications in agriculture are harvesting and plucking because of the precision and speed that robots can accomplish to increase yield and minimize waste from crops left in the field.
These applications, however, might be challenging to automate. Farmers are increasingly using harvesting and picking robots, but there are hundreds of other inventive ways the agricultural business utilizes robotic automation to increase output yields. The goal of agricultural robotics is to assist the industry in enhancing its efficiency and profitability of operations and boost production, specialization, and environmental sustainability. Some causes that have spurred automation in this area include labour shortages, growing customer demand, and high manufacturing costs.
Autonomous robots may wander around farming fields, removing weeds and monitoring crop health. Other self-driving robots can collect eggs and milk and feed the animals. These robots handle monotonous chores, allowing farmworkers to focus on activities requiring more skill or insight. Robotic applications include seedling, planting, identification, and sorting. There are also self-driving tractors and weeding and harvesting robots. Drones and self-driving cars are being utilized to monitor and evaluate crops. One new Harvard research study tries to address a critical issue for world agriculture: the reduction of bee populations. To pollinate crops, the researchers propose using a swarm of tiny drones.
Robotics is also used in the dairy, poultry, and cattle agricultural industries for non-plant agriculture. Applications include self-feeding and milking, egg gathering and sorting, and self-cleaning.
Manufacturing is the initial stage in the application of robots in food processing. This procedure includes multiple phases that are commonly performed at a manufacturing plant, such as packing and safety monitoring. To begin, robots can cleanse and categorize various sorts of food. Fruits and vegetables, for example, maybe simply separated into different containers by robotic arms. In manufacturing, robots are used to do repeated jobs, simplifying the whole assembly procedure. Robots and humans work together to create products. Many tasks are hazardous or involve large quantities of materials that might be hazardous to human employees.
Robots can also prepare certain meals before packing. Because cutting fruits and vegetables involves various equipment, robots can operate more effectively by matching blades to the kind of cut necessary or switching between cutting devices rapidly. They may then chop items for grocery shops or even create meals independently.
Food manufacturing may be divided into two categories:
Cleaning, sorting, delivering, and combining raw food components are all examples of primary processing. Robotic butchery and fruit and vegetable sorting are two such examples of robotic applications.
Secondary processing combines ingredients to create new food items by frying, baking, chilling, and other methods. Product sorting, defect elimination, and mixing are examples of robotic uses.
Robotics applications are more adapted to secondary processing since the food is more standardized at that point. However, we see an increase in the number of primary processing robots.
Food packaging robots have long been used in many sections of the food supply chain. The most recent advancement, however, is that the whole packing process may be automated. Robots in food processing can then mix the elements of a prepared meal, such as frozen dinners, once robots have manufactured the food. Workers can fulfil supply and demand with rapid and effective robotic packaging devices.
These robots can also arrange the food onto pallets for subsequent storage and shipping. Autonomous robots will eventually be commonplace, roaming warehouses and efficiently collecting or storing merchandise. Packaging robots have several advantages in a variety of industrial applications. Packaging robots provide the speed, precision, and efficiency that robotic automation has been known for a while, offering a reasonably quick return on investment (ROI) when used appropriately. Packaging robots are often intended to open, fill, carry, palletize, seal, code, and tag product packaging. A packaging robot can automate almost any process that requires moving or packing items. These robots are utilized in a variety of applications.
Food packaging is divided into three stages:
Individual foods are packed in primary packaging. A pick-and-place robot, for example, places chocolates into plastic containers.
Individual products are tied together in secondary packaging. Another pick-and-place robot, for example, piles the plastic tubs into a more extensive package.
Secondary packages are bundled for delivery in tertiary packaging. A palletizing robot, for example, loads multiple boxes onto a pallet.
Robotic packaging appears to have emerged as one of the most critical uses in the food business.
- Food Delivery
Robotic meal delivery has recently gained a lot of attention. Following its first successful (and boisterous) delivery by drone at the end of last year, Domino’s Pizza revealed earlier this year that it would launch autonomous ground vehicles to deliver pizzas. Though some firms are still focusing on logistics, this acceptance would significantly impact food delivery.
The little service robot is outfitted with cameras that provide it with a 360-degree vision. To make its delivery, the robot also can surmount a range of barriers. It can scale curbs by lowering its wheels one at a time until it reaches the sidewalk. It can also prevent human collisions and manoeuvre past obstructions. The robot is intended to make short-distance deliveries of modest orders, which are undesirable occupations for human delivery employees. Businesses are investing in delivery bots since city dwellers demand practically everything to be delivered immediately or on a schedule. Companies are also seeing the bottleneck produced by automobiles competing for space on congested urban roadways. Robots might potentially save businesses a lot of money in the long run.
Although self-driving food delivery may seem to be the next craze, it addresses a growing market demand. Lately, there has been considerable interest in restaurant-quality food and home-delivered, ready-to-eat cuisine. Whether or not self-driving cars will become commonplace is uncertain, but our appetite for takeout is undoubtedly transforming the food sector. Following the closure of eateries due to the epidemic, meal delivery became the new standard. As a result, the top meal delivery providers earned $5.5 billion from April to September 2020 alone. This figure is more than double what they received during the same period in 2019.
however, the meal delivery sector is continually expanding. Across the country, autonomous cars are already in use. Some function on a city-wide basis, while others thrive on college campuses. Kiwi, for example, autonomously distributes food throughout California college campuses. The business aspires to break the global record of 500 deliveries in one day.
Cooking robots are also essential in the food business. Restaurants are already utilizing robots to prepare and cook their food. Creator, a burger establishment in San Francisco, uses robots to ground the meat, cook the patties, and supply the toppings, creating the complete burger.
These robots may soon become a fad in home cooking as well. Moley Robotics has previously produced a robot that can assist consumers in cooking food at home. The startup intends to sell robots with 5,000 built-in meals and talents in the future.
Making automation, on the other hand, does not always imply cooking meals on command. The APRIL robot, for instance, aims to improve the quality of ready-made meals. Traditional mass manufacturing methods degrade food quality owing to huge batch sizes. The inventors say that the food quality improves by cooking in smaller quantities with a KUKA robot. Cooking and delivery robots, on the other hand, are still in their infancy compared to other phases of the food supply chain. However, there is no denying that automation is transforming the food business.