Pacepacker Services CEO Dennis Allison says food industry interest in robots has rocketed in the UK this year but warns that the nation lags well behind countries like Germany in using them to gain a competitive edge.
Robotics sales to UK food and drinks manufacturers have jumped by more than a quarter over the past two years as industry increasingly embraces the technology, said the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA).
Greater hygiene, improved consistency of operation and greater productivity are all key advantages to be realised from using robotics in meat processing and packaging, said the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL).
Robot-based product packaging and palletizing remain the areas for quick wins in the confectionery sector but robots, albeit in the leading EU based confectioners, are gradually taking on more tasks a step earlier at the processing stage.
Robotic technology, which featured largely at the recent Anuga FoodTec trade show, has untapped potential to improve productivity, increase product yield and bring greater flexibility to the food manufacturing production line, claims TM Robotics.