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PMMI Corner

The rise of the robots

Achieving greater efficiency, precision and speed to market.

June 30, 2014
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Jorge Izquierdo, PMMIIt’s taken a while to get here, but food processors are gradually picking up on the advantages of automation. Robots on the plant floor help manufacturers remain competitive by decreasing line errors, increasing production and making operations safer. According to the 2014 Trends in Robotics Market Assessment released by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, over half of companies currently using robotics expect to increase their use in their processing lines to take advantage of these benefits.

The question for food industries is not —and never really was—whether robots make sense on the manufacturing line. The question all along has been which type works best for a given application.

 

Hawk vision

Advances in computer vision technology have been a major force behind the widespread adoption of robotics. Better vision improves the performance of end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) in robotics. That means faster and more accurate product handling. State-of-the-art EOATs enable robots to capture and identify objects by their shape, size and color. For example, robots have been programmed to intelligently identify and select just the right object to go in just the right place at just the right time. This capability can help manufacturers improve efficiency and accuracy in their processing and packaging lines.

 

Enhanced safety

With more stringent food safety regulations on the horizon, manufacturers are looking to robotics for help. Robots reduce the risk of contamination by decreasing or eliminating direct human contact with food and beverage products throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, today’s robots are designed with smoother casing and tighter seals to prevent bacteria from growing in crevices.

 

The productivity factor

By integrating automation into their lines, both small and large companies can take a massive leap forward. The use of robotics helps manufacturers boost production while providing consistent quality—resulting in greater profit and brand integrity. With the ability to multitask, today’s automation technologies can help boost production. For instance, a robot can transport one product from one place to another while simultaneously communicating with other devices such as an operator panel, or plant network.

As food and beverage manufacturers look for new solutions that can enhance operations, PACK EXPO International 2014 (November 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago, IL) will serve as the largest resource in North America to discover innovation and see the technology that is transforming both robotics and their applications for manufacturers.

For more information or to register visit packexpointernational.com. Registration is $30 prior to October 3, 2014 and $60 thereafter.

 

 

PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 600 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, packexpo.com, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.

PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK Mexico and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2-5, 2014 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014, presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); EXPO PACK México 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 2–4, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 18-20, 2015(Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, 2015 (Las Vegas Convention Center)

Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at PMMI.org and packexpo.com.

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Recent Articles by Jorge Izquierdo, vice president, market development, PMMI

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