During the pandemic outbreak, the robots introduce new ways to process and packaged food considering the highest food safety and sanitation level. Simultaneously, it also provides an opportunity for job delegations that are ergonomically difficult and harmful to human workers.
Autonomous food production is the primary factor expected to address the current need for rising food consumption. In the next five years, the global food automation industry value is expected to be double by 2022 from 2019. The Asia-Pacific regional market will witness the most significant contributing driving factor in the world due to the growing popularity of ready-to-eat foods.
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Food manufacturing has been segmented into two phases:
Primary Processing — Initial, the procurement of raw food products are cleaned, sorted, blended, and transported. Robotic applications include slaughtering and sorting.
Secondary Processing — Later, the ingredients are mixed to form new food products by cooking, baking, chilling, and others. Robotic applications include product sorting, mixing, and defect removal.
Robotic applications are most suitable for secondary processing, as the food is more standardized by then. However, it is expected to witness a tremendous demand for robotics in primary processing.
Currently, food packaging robots have been incorporated into the entire food supply chain. However, the latest development makes it possible to automate the packaging process as a whole.
Food packaging has been segmented into three phases:
Primary Packaging — Individual foods are packaged. For instance, a pick-and-place robot puts sweets into plastic tubs.
Secondary Packaging — Individual packages are gathered together to finalize the shipping of the final products. For instance, another pick-and-place robot stacks those plastic tubs into a larger box.
Tertiary Packaging — Secondary packages are gathered together for shipping. For instance, a palletizing robot puts many boxes onto a pallet.
It seems possible that robotic packaging will highlight as one of the leading applications in the food industry.