The implementation of robots has become an emerging trend across manufacturing industries, many of which are making a big leap to automating production processes using robots. However, it’s only been in the recent years that automation and robotic technology are gradually setting foot into the food and beverage industries. A good example would be the implementation of robot vending machines that offer superior convenience as opposed to the non-automated ones.
In this article, however, we are going to specifically address the beverage robots, which are essentially robotic equipment used in the food and beverage industry where automated processes are performed in the production line. For instance, “pick-and-place”, perhaps one of the most prevalent and fundamental robotic applications in the food and beverage industry, can move a product to the designated position in a production or packaging line.
The beverage robots greatly, if not completely, enhance the automation level of an existing production line, which speeds up the process of drink productions as they are fitted to the production line based on specific assembly requirements. They are more predictable, consistent and are able to work at a much more efficient way than that of human counterparts. All of these factors thereby contribute to optimal output, let alone the fact that robots barely need to take any breaks.
It has been said that the implementation of robotic technology has been boosting efficiency with reported success from many beverage plants worldwide. In fact, in the beverage industry, the idea of “smart” technology has started to play a vital role that entails more sophisticated sensing and vision systems as well as gripping mechanisms, all of which lead to the increased efficiency, and optimized and smooth connected supply chain that now relies on automation.
Experts have pointed out that beverage products are faced with increasing demands from consumers for more creative container design, new flavors, and the use of variety packs, and all of these can no longer be realized efficiently without the flexibility provided by robotic technology. This is why things like the beverage robot arms have begun to make their presence in beverage plants as a solution to accommodate all these emerging demands. As a matter of fact, beverage robots are the perfect solution to the new trend of lightweight containers because they can be programmed to handle products more gently with varying speeds.
Now we’ve learned that the food and beverage industry has now been placing a greater value on automation and robotic technology due to the new emerging demands from consumers. But implementing an automated system to the production line takes commitment and resources, and you may be wondering if it is worth the hassle. So how exactly do robots benefit the food and beverage industry?
1. Optimize Production Output: Robots are able to work day and night with breaks as short as a coffee break as well as minimal oversight. This enables production output to be maximized with minimal downtime that would otherwise be longer with manual labor. The existing human labors can be more appropriately allocated without minimal disruption to the current production processes. Many applications, such as the production of soda pops, are made much more efficient as they are simply picked and placed” into their primary packing and ready to be palletized. The configuration may however differ upon the different requirements of customers.
2. Enhance Manufacturing Flexibility: Changeover or product switching is made easy with robots. Beverage production can be composed of various product lines, and an automatic system can adapt to these variations, which reduces downtime and waste. The vision system we mentioned earlier is able to guide the robotic functions to optimize the flexibility of robots.
3. Minimize Safety Hazard: Robots in the food and beverage industry are able to work in much harsher conditions and environments than humans can. Also, they do not ever feel tired and are not affected by heat, fumes, dust, and humidity. They are capable of performing repetitive, strenuous tasks such as lifting and pushing without no diminishing efficiency. Robots are in turn able to contribute to workplace safety by minimizing the exposure of human workers to the conditions described above.
4. Protect Food Safety: Human workers are subjected to external environmental factors because of the nature of our skin, hair, fingernail, body fluids, and so on, so any contact with the raw ingredients can likely contaminate beverage products. Robots on the other hand do not carry pathogens which can cause adverse effects if the production process is not maintained properly.
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