Food manufacturing has grown into rather complex processes involving preparing, cooking, sorting, packaging and palletizing. Industrial food robots are increasingly being integrated for food manufacturing in order to save time and space, as well as improving cleanliness and safety.
Food manufacturing robots are commonly used in the dispensing, feed placement, packaging or casing of food, pick-and-placing products into containers, and sorting. Newer developments also allow for order picking, where an employee or customer is able to place an order electronically, and the food robot automatically fills that specific order.
For the packaging of food items, where speed, consistency or high levels of repetition are concerned, the food robot almost always wins over humans in terms of efficiency. Robots are equipped with intelligent vision systems allowing the very specific placement of products on a belt to be done with incredible accuracy. Vision system robots are also utilized in sorting by color, shape or size.
RobotWorx integrates industrial robots into many manufacturing processes, including food. The type of application and requirements such as payload, work envelope, speed, accuracy, and whether vision controls are needed, determine which one is right for you. If your process requires a clean room environment, RobotWorx carries robots that meet clean room specifications as well.
There has also been further development in the grippers and vacuum tools used by these robots. The airflow vacuum tool is ideal for handling goods with damageable surfaces because it can pick up products without touching them. The suction cup is ideal for handling many kinds of products, especially those with an uneven surface such as biscuits and frozen pizzas. Using pressure difference, the vacuum gripper holds the product by using, which allows for fast pick up. Finger grippers are best used for products that cannot be handled by suction, such as cakes with loose particles on top. All gripper and suction tools should be easy to clean, change over and made from materials suitable for the application.