The Future of Robotic Controllers in Food Processing

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Author: Sebastian Bryant

The Future of Robotic Controllers in Food Processing

The adoption of robotic controllers in the food and beverage industry has been increasing over the past few years, driven by the need for greater automation and efficiency. At Siemens GB&I, we have been working with robotic controllers in factory automation for more than 20 years.

Advances in technology have made it much easier to install robots and automation on the production line. The integration of robots into the digital infrastructure of a factory allows for better connectivity, supportability, and data analysis. This can lead to improved productivity, efficiency, and sustainability gains.

Robot controllers are also being used in the food industry to address cost pressures and labor shortages, reducing wastage, improving efficiency, and ensuring food safety. With the increasing demand for automation in food processing, robotic controllers are poised to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the industry.

Enhancing Worker Safety with Robotic Controllers

Worker safety is a crucial consideration in the adoption of robotics and automation in the food industry. The automation of tasks in cold storage areas, for example, can help limit the amount of time workers spend in cold conditions, reducing the risk of long-term health issues.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are being used in cold chain logistics to transport heavy payloads in cold store environments. These robots are specifically designed to withstand sub-zero temperatures and ensure the safety of workers.

By taking over repetitive and physically demanding tasks, industrial and collaborative robots can also improve working conditions, reducing the risk of workplace injuries and creating a more comfortable environment for human workers.

Overcoming Challenges in Adopting Robotic Controllers

In the food industry, the benefits of robotic controllers are evident. However, there are challenges that hinder the full adoption of automation. One of the major obstacles is the fear that robots will replace human workers. Contrary to this belief, studies have shown that automation actually creates a demand for more skilled workers and enables blue-collar workers to be redeployed to other areas of the business.

Another challenge in embracing robotic controllers is the lack of interest in practical skills and hands-on work, particularly among the younger generation. To address this, we need to appeal to the younger generation by incorporating technologies that they are familiar with, such as virtual reality and gaming, into training programs. By making the learning experience more engaging and relevant, we can ignite their passion for practical skills and bridge the gap between manual work and advanced automation.

By addressing these challenges, the food industry can fully leverage the potential of robotic controllers. Manufacturers and the education system need to collaborate in order to shape the future workforce and equip them with the necessary skills to excel in a highly automated environment. The adoption of robotic controllers in the food industry will not only drive innovation and efficiency but also create new opportunities for skilled workers, ultimately propelling the industry to new heights.

Sebastian Bryant