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FMEG meeting to be held at ABB

11 March 2011

An Advanced Automation in Food Manufacture meeting is to be held at ABB in Milton Keynes on 11 May 2011

Major drivers exist to minimise manual operations within the food industry. Investment in automation in the food industry is increasing and the benefits are being appreciated including increased quality, consistency and reduced waste with increased sustainability.

Automation requires clear communication of the benefits to gain management buy in, and involving staff to install, maintain and reconfigure the new equipment. Advanced automation may help generate shareholder value. Speakers have been drawn from industry to give an overview of some current applications and opportunities created by the latest technologies.

The application of automation to food manufacturing can provide the following 10 benefits:
1. Drastically reduced operating costs.
2. Consistently high product quality.
3. Enhanced employee satisfaction.
4. Increased production output rates.
5. Increased product manufacturing flexibility.
6. Enhanced competitiveness through greater efficiency.
7. Improved workplace health and safety
8. Reduce the difficulty of recruiting skilled staff.
9. Reduced capital costs (inventory, work in progress)
10. Space savings in high value manufacturing areas.

It can reduce:
 The number of labour intensive handling operations.
 The final cost of production
 Microbial and foreign body contamination due to human contact, a quality issue
 The stress of environmental effects on the workforce. (e.g. working in a cold atmosphere).

Technical challenges include:
 The reduction and transformation of waste and economical use of energy and water.
 The need for hygienic design, cleaning and decontamination to maintain quality.
Training needs in the food industry related to the introduction of advanced automation

 To explore advanced automated production, reviewing vision systems, grippers and hygiene
 To review the sustainability drivers for automation with case studies
 To view automation from the perspectives of food manufacturers, equipment providers and retailers
 To benchmark automation progress in the UK food industry against progress overseas

Who should attend
 Specialists in automation and robotics from industry
 Process development Managers and Plant designers
 Technical, business, human resources and environmental Managers
 Academics interested in a co-operative projects in the field.

Networking opportunities
The programme links the industrial members of FMEG with the EPSRC Automated Food Assembly Network of researchers from 18 Universities to promote research partnerships with universities and equipment suppliers to improve efficiency and develop new ideas. This is the nineteenth meeting of FMEG, for details of earlier meetings see the website

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