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Robots on the rise in food manufacturing


The latest findings published by Frost & Sullivan (European robotics for materials handling​) suggest that the best prospect for growth in the use of robotics lies in the food and packaging sector. This is a conclusion I would wholeheartedly endorse.

In the food packaging sector robots are being increasingly deployed to replace repetitive, unfulfilling and strain-inducing manual tasks. Feed-placing robots that align goods, including cakes and biscuits hot from the oven, onto conveyors prior to wrapping are now frequently used. Top-loading robots that insert finished wrapped goods into secondary packs or cartons are commonplace. And even complicated human-like tasks are now being automated.

Super-fast robots armed with sophisticated vision systems are capable of selecting chocolates, for example, at random from rapidly moving conveyors, orienting them and then placing them in the relevant place within a selection tray. The devices are faster and more reliable than human counterparts and deliver a very rapid return on investment.

Frost & Sullivan estimates the market for handling-robots was euro 591.5M in 2004 and estimates that it will reach very nearly euro 1bn by 2012. As the report also points out, where once the automotive sector dominated robot deployment, the food packaging sector is taking over.

Roland Czuday

Product manager

Delta Robot Systems Sigpack Systems

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