Challenges for industrial robot applications in food manufacturing
The global food industry is facing many challenges due to the impact of climate change, ever-changing demands by consumers, and increasing legislative pressures by the government, which have resulted in several drivers for changes. Current large scale rigid manufacturing systems are increasingly seen as incapable of supporting the underlining requirements for implementation of such changes. In this context, one of the key requirements is the need for improved flexibility and reconfigurability of production facilities, often provided by adoption of Industrial Robots in other manufacturing sectors. However, despite their recent technological advancements, in particular the advent of the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), and significant reduction in overall implementation cost over the last two decades, the uptake of industrial robots in food processing has been slow. This paper explores the application of industrial robots in food manufacturing, the benefits of their use and the challenges currently hindering their uptake.
This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant number EP/K030957/1], under a research programme entitled the ‘EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food’.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering