This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.;2714294;369307;211;0/?ft_width=1&ft_height=1&url=16151650

The Role of Robots

29 March 2012

Ian Walker, general sales manager at industrial robot supplier KUKA Robotics UK, responds to some frequently asked questions about the role of robots in the food processing industry.

How much demand is there from food processors for robotic automation?
The demand in this sector is relatively high. Standard robotic applications primarily involve packaging and palletising although a big growth area is in packing operations.

What are the most popular applications?
Palletising is one of the most frequent tasks that robots perform in the food processing industry. They can be used to stack goods up to a height of 3 metres, recognise foods of different consistencies, sizes and weights, grip and palletise mixed or unmixed products, pack goods in stable layers separated by slipsheets and even operate in cleanrooms or in temperatures as low as minus 30ºC.

Is there scope for using robots in other processes?
Yes, almost any application! Robotic systems have even been developed for handling delicate products such as lettuce. The use of robotic automation is inexplicably low in the meat processing sector. Yet, there is huge potential for using robots for packaging and palletising tasks as well as 3D measurement and cutting of meat.

What are the advantages of using robots?
Robots are very versatile and can be easily integrated into existing or new production cells. They can offer improvements in production throughput as robots are not only able to work faster and longer without breaks, but also deliver better product quality as they achieve repeatable results. With easy clean surfaces and low maintenance requirements, robots are ideal for a wide range of applications from cutting and packaging meat to processing cheese and handling frozen foods. Unlike dedicated machines and systems tailored to a specific product, robots can be easily modified to meet future needs.

What are the challenges for robotic automation?
Customers expect faster cycle times and higher throughput rates without affecting the accuracy of the operation. The use of sensor systems and even simpler operator control of robots have a role to play here.

How is KUKA addressing these issues?
KUKA’s new QUANTEC range includes special palletising models, which are extremely fast thanks to their streamlined design and use of lighter components. They are available in three versions for payloads of 120, 180 and 240kg, making them suitable for a wide variety of tasks.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


Article image Food-friendly robot

FANUC UK has launched a new robot for cleanroom and food-handling environments.Full Story...

Article image Robots: Putting a case for their defence!

Production and packing lines can stop working for any number of reasons, so why is the default assumption that a robotic malfunction is to blame? Paul Wilkinson offers some advice on getting to the real root of a problem. Full Story...

Designing hygienic robots to suit the food industry

Dropping our robot defences

First FANUC m410ic/185 robot in the field at Askew & Barrett


Article image A fresh perspective

Chris Sumner, MD of FANUC UK, considers why robotic uptake within the fresh produce segment has been lower than that in other manufacturing sectors. Full Story...

Article image Packing line sneak preview – 4 March, Essex!

A turnkey packing line featuring FANUC’s new-generation palletiser (M410ic/185) will be on display at a FREE event hosted by automation and integration expert Pacepacker. Food processors and packers will see live demonstrations of a bulk handling line incorporating the latest weighing, bagging, metal inspection, palletising and stretch wrapping equipment. Book now - 4 March, Essex!Full Story...

20+ new Blu-Robot pick and place solutions with fast ROI


Article image Anheuser-Busch InBev’s distribution strategy model

Over the past 10 years Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) has grown its global distribution network using a strategy which goes against the grain for traditional brewery specifications. In place of cost and time intensive permanent structures, it has adopted a design-driven approach in partnership with Herchenbach, a manufacturer of temporary buildings and semi-permanent warehouses. Full Story...

Article image Getting the best out of PLCs

PLCs are something of an industry giant, so why is there still apprehension when engineering issues arise? Food Processing investigates.Full Story...

What role does refrigeration play in the supply chain?

Gently does it

Time to take steps to reduce plastic waste