Artificial intelligence and robotics could soon be infiltrating your favorite restaurant, and even your home kitchen. Imagine coming home to a pair of robotic hands that can prepare Michelin star quality meals for you. This is the future, and the company Moley Robotics is one of many that are working in this area. The team at Morley recently demonstrated a sleek pair of robotic arms that can cook hundreds of meals in a home kitchen with little provision. Robots Will Farm and Make Your Food
Cobots, the first step towards a robot restaurant
Cobots are advanced robots that can work alongside humans. Restaurants using cobots were called automats and have been in use since the 1970s. Cobots can be used primarily to perform simple tasks such as serving or vending food items. They can automate various repetitive and mundane tasks in a restaurant or over-the-counter tasks. A soda vending machine can be considered a cobot as the process is fully automated. The vending machine can accept the payment and provide the user with the required item. With advancements in the field of robotics, the capabilities of cobots have increased tremendously. Restaurants are already leveraging cobots for simplifying food ordering and payment processes. With just a few clicks, customers can order their favorite meals and pay for them quickly.
Simplifying the cooking process
Robots can be utilized to prepare dishes using accurate proportions of ingredients. The probability of errors is highly minimized, if not eliminated using robots. Once the data is fed into the robotics software, it can replicate the dishes without error. Thus, restaurants can provide different dishes from all over the world using robots as they are not limited by culinary skills. This can help restaurants draw a larger crowd from various backgrounds and help increase revenues. Robots can work at a faster pace compared to humans and therefore can improve productivity. This reduces the waiting time for customers, enabling faster checkouts and can help restaurants increase the intake of customers during working hours.
Industrial Cases – Improved Product Consistency
Whereas the food and beverage industry has traditionally relied on human workers to handle advanced functions like cutting and slicing, robotics are being developed and implemented to streamline the process and produce more consistent output. Fish cutting, for instance, involves detecting and removing defects from the fish as well as cutting fillets to uniform shapes and sizes. Automated technology improves this function for a higher caliber of consistency in the final results.
Safer Working Conditions
Robotics automation has been designed to mimic human movements and eliminate the need to place human workers in dangerous or injury-prone conditions. Ensuring the safety of workers is a major benefit of warehouse robotics in the food and beverage industry.
Current data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were 51 work-related fatalities in the food manufacturing industry in 2017, and the rate of injury and illness cases per 100 full-time workers was 4.5%. Given that employers pay almost $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs alone, this rate of workplace injuries and illnesses translates to serious bottom-line damage. From workers’ compensation payments, medical costs and legal expenses to accident investigation, absenteeism, training for replacement employees, lost productivity and so much more, reducing worker injury can ultimately save big bucks.
Consider, for example, the advantages of robotics in meat processing, as statistics show that meat packing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Robotics have been developed to adapt to the varying nature of animal carcasses with sensors, systematically calculating the dimensions of each carcass before sending it through to the cutting process. This helps the robot to cut meat with precision even at high speed, and eliminates the need for human workers to manage this risky part of the process.
Technological advancement in robotics has enabled warehouses to maximize efficiency and get products out the door in a much faster way. Even applications that have been available for some time are continuing to evolve to allow for more complex functions and heightened paces.
This is especially true in the area of picking and placing products like fruit and vegetables, which has historically been challenging to manage via robotics. Improvements in gripper technologies have made it possible to cater to product delicacy using pressure sensors and machine vision solutions. With this advantage, operation speeds can be significantly increased without compromising the quality of the finished product.
Let’s face it, your labor force can only do so much on their own, even at peak efficiency. Furthermore, robots are tireless and require minimal maintenance. A robot arm can work at a high speed for 70,000 hours or more before requiring maintenance or experiencing a mechanical failure.
Reduced Risk of Contamination
The CDC estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness each year, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Fortunately, robotics are improving to the point that they can be used to reduce food contamination. Robot casings are becoming smoother, with better ingress ratings and the elimination of loose wires, which allows them to be thoroughly washed down at the end of each cycle.
End-to-End Packaging Automation
Food packaging robots have been incorporated into parts of the food supply chain for some time, but only recently have robotics become advanced enough to automate the entire packaging process from end to end. This means a shift to robotics across every conventional touch point in a facility, from de-palletizing and unpacking to primary, secondary and tertiary packaging.This is particularly evident in quality control. Bottle filling, for example, has historically required human involvement to individually inspect incoming materials before the filling process and then examine the final product afterward. With robotics, however, this function can be automatically managed in-line, with bottles being inspected as they’re being filled.
- Robots will make your food – https://interestingengineering.com/robots-will-not-take-over-the-world-yet-but-they-may-take-over-some-industries
- Cobots, the first step towards a robot restaurant – https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2020/02/03/bon-apptit-robotic-restaurants-are-the-future/?sh=5da505712136
- Industrial Cases – Improved Product Consistency – https://www.industrialpackaging.com/blog/warehouse-robotics-are-robots-the-future-of-food-applications