Food Processing Industry Technology | Food Processing Tech Solutions
Food Processing Industry Technology - How the marketplace is changing...
As the demand for more detailed food labelling continues to increase, how can manufacturers in food sectors continue to meet these challenges without impacting on the brand or the efficiencies of their production process? For manufacturers, efficient and safe production output is the key to success. Therefore, the additional labelling and coding required, be this driven by legislation, retailers, brand owners or consumers, must not be a distraction to their primary manufacturing process. Today there is a wide range of technologies to choose from, all of which offer slightly different benefits in terms of application and output. This is a testament to the new technologies abound today in the industry. With new businesses looking to get ahead and cut cost, utilizing emerging technologies to accomplish this goal has proven to be the key to their success.
Robotics changing the way food is processed...
Food-borne diseases account for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frustrations are growing as the number of various diseases transmitted by food now exceeds 250, including E. coli bacteria, often found in ground beef; hepatitis A, a virus linked to shellfish and fruits; and the ever-persistent Norwalk virus, which also starts in raw shellfish or water and can spread rapidly from person to person. Robotics and automation in food processing and packaging are one of the many possible paths available to reduce the introduction of these bacteria. The capabilities of the human operator are difficult to replace due to their dexterity and adaptive visual, mechanical and decision making capabilities. In high speed repetitive operations in modern day food processing and packaging, however, human operators begin to show their weaknesses. Human performance (both physical and mental) will degrade with the onset of fatigue. This will affect the overall performance efficiency of the production line and the risk increases that mental errors will cause further quality or sanitation problems. Also during long durations performing repetitive tasks will lead to bodily injury. These injuries will lead to lost work time and potential increased medical expenses. In many food processing facilities the work environment is not conducive to humans working for long periods of time. Often the facilities are operated at temperatures above or below normal room temperature, increasing the stress to work in these environments.
What will the production world of the future look like?
Probably the most significant factor for robotics and vision technology was the continuous reduction of cost per unit of performance of these components. Most food manufactures, even to this day, use very simple justification to evaluate return on investment (ROI) for their capital equipment expenditures – the offset of direct labor being the most prevalent. Even at the speeds of 55-80 cycles per minute, the utilization of pick-and-place robotics was either limited to unique applications or industry early adopters were willing to accept “soft” justifications to evaluate their ROIs. One of the most significant “soft” justifications was worker related injuries such as repetitive motion injuries being identified in high volume packaging applications. Would you like to learn more about how technology can offer a positive impact to your industry? Contact us today to discover how G&G Technologies can help you cut cost and migrate towards a more efficient and productive business.