Innovation in food robotics systems is transforming the traditional ways in which food has been manufactured, delivered, packed, held, and blended in factories as well as restaurants. As technology has penetrated various sectors across the world, the food sector is no exception. Robots are making their way into different processes from manufacturing to packaging and manufacturers are embracing the systems to save time and improve the efficiency of the entire process. Automation of different processes is a major focus of food industry players and necessary steps have been taken to deploy such systems. From facilities to restaurants, robotics systems have been deployed and tests have been conducted in some places. The demand for food robotics systems would increase in the coming years as they offer benefits in terms of time and efficiency. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global food robotics market is expected to reach $3.61 billion by 2023. Following are some of the ways in which innovation in robotics is impacting the food industry:
Food manufacturing companies have been deploying massive robotics machines for different processes such as grinding, mixing, and heating. However, new machines can be installed at grocery stores to prepare breads and sell freshly baked slices of bread to customers. Wilkinson Baking Company developed a robot known as BreadBot to transform the art of bread making into an automated robotic process. This robot carries out the job of bakery. When dry ingredients are mixed, BreadBot blends them and cooks the dough. Once it is cooled, it can be directly sold to customers. The size of the machine is small enough to be fitted in a grocery store and freshly-baked dough can be served to customers.
Companies have been developing robots to offer delivery services. The trials have been ongoing, and once the safety and efficacy are tested, these robots will be deployed on a permanent basis. However, some companies have already deployed these robots at restaurants and campuses of University. Kiwi Campus, a robotics startup company based in the U.S., deployed a fleet of food delivery robots. Different kinds of bots are deployed at each step of the process. The startup has been trying to make the transport of food as cheap and efficient as possible. Kiwi’s robots are also known as Kiwibots and operating at more than 12 colleges. Many of the colleges are part of universities such as UC Berkeley and UCLA. Innovations are underway and there will be a time when people can see robots bringing food to their tables.
Food manufacturers have been looking forward to automating all the processes and food packaging is one of the major tasks in the process. Primary packaging, which involves wrapping raw material or processed food, is an application in which manufacturers have been deploying robots. Based on food products, sizes and shapes can vary. Processed foods are easy to pack; however, raw materials are difficult to wrap. Robotic manufacturers such as FANUC Robotics have developed lettuce packaging robots that involve plastic packaging. These robots are developed for efficient handling of raw materials and can be deployed in packaging applications.
Though robotics systems have been serving the food industry from the past few years and automating major processes such as manufacturing, packaging, and others. However, handling delicate food items was one of the major tasks that needed precision and flexibility in robotics systems. New gripper technology has been introduced. It utilizes gripper technology, capable of mimicking human touch and handling delicate food products such as fruits and vegetables. Vacuum grippers have been invented for performing tasks such as gripping and handling foods in such a way that it will not be damaged during the process. The gripper technologies have been adopted for picking and placing delicate fruits along with handling chocolates and bakery items.
Robotics systems have been developed for blending ingredients of the customers’ choices and serve them a smoothie. Blended, a food robotics system manufacturer, developed a smoothie-making booth known as Chef B. It is designed in such a way that customers can choose the ingredients for preparing a smoothie. Once they choose the ingredient, the system utilizes a mechanical arm for extracting these food ingredients and blends them. After blending and preparing a drink, it is poured into a cup and served to customers.
Author Bio: Pratik Kirve is a writer, blogger, and sports enthusiast. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and currently working as a Sr. Specialist – Content Writer at Allied Analytics LLP. He has an avid interest in writing news articles across different verticals. When he is not following updates and trends, he spends his time reading, writing poetry, and playing football.