Food & Drink Process & Packaging Issue 15 2017 - Page 17

ROBOTS FOR FLEXIBLE AUTOMA- TION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY pper for robots. Second is the hygienic component: our local system integrators to bring home these solutions, supporting local industry with the latest tech- In today’s competitive marketplace, are industrial robots suitable for use you need flexibility in your manufac- in primary processes? And, lastly, turing processes in order to respond the environment within the primary quickly to market dynamics. FANUC processes is harsh: how are robots Robotics provides robotic solutions in withstanding the various cleaning Europe for the food industry. Euro- and disinfection processes? robot manufacturer, we have taken In addition to the possible presence with a new way of looking at robot of salts, alkaline, acids, etc., just the design. This has resulted in robots simple fact of hosing down a robot with smooth surfaces, adapted with water under pressure will defi- sealing, white body colour and epoxy nitely put it out of business. Extreme paint, plastic covers instead pean food companies were quick to embrace robot technology when it came to secondary processes like palletising and later packing. In these types of applications indus- trial robots, similar to those used in the car industry, were used to handle packaged food, replacing traditio- nal machinery. “Investing in flexible automation using robots is the only way to keep our factories in Europe,” says Bob Struijk, vice president of FANUC Robotics Europe. It allowed higher throughput and reliability in the end-of-line processes. The extreme high reliability of the robots allowed companies to save on main- tenance costs as well as benefit from the substantial increase in up-time of the installation and lines. ROBOTS FOR FRESH FOOD PRO- DUCTION Recent years have shown an enor- mous interest and growth in hand- ling primary food: robots handling the raw / fresh product. The driving question here was: how to cut back on the rising labour costs while main- taining line flexibility? For robots to actually work in the food production and thus be in direct contact with any kind of food implies a complian- ce with local conditions in the food sector. Food can be characterised as a non-uniform product, not having clear standards, hence a show-sto- high and/or low temperatures or fluctuations also play their part. At FANUC we work hand in hand with nology. SIX-AXIS DELTA ROBOT PICKER At FANUC, being the world’s largest these items to heart and came up