Robots have come a long way. People have been predicting that robots will be a massive part of our lives for decades. That prediction is finally starting to become a reality. We are starting to see robots everywhere, with new innovations arriving on a weekly basis.
The food industry is one industry where robots will have a profound impact. In many ways, they are already starting to do so. As such, here are 7 instances where robots are already being used in the food industry, from manufacturing all the way to front-end customer service.
An automated kitchen is something that numerous companies have chased for a long while. Finally, it seems to be upon us. Moley is a company that is currently developing its prototype. While it is not out yet, it is amazing what this thing can do.
The robot is able to learn recipes and prepare entire meals on its own. Not only that, but it can also learn movements after witnessing a human chef and replicate recipes. Sadly, the robot has been in development for a while (since 2015). The release date is set for 2020, and our fingers are crossed!
Rozum Café is one of the most innovative robots we have seen. This barista-robot is capable of working without any input. Not only does it show how advanced robots are becoming, but it presents a great opportunity for small businesses.
The great thing about Rozum Café is its ability to deliver a consistent product unmarred by human error. It is able to work 24-hours without pause, and 3 robot cafés should pay for themselves within 9 months according to the company’s calculation.
The Rozum Café is a perfect ‘attraction’ for a restaurant. With no manual labor and no supervision required, the Rozum Café is ideal for mall food-courts and 24/7 stores as well. It will be interesting to see what other processes in the ‘food-serving’ domain are automated in the next few years. Perhaps, we could soon be enjoying a custom-made sandwich made entirely by a robot?
Handling of Delicate Fruits
Robots are now finally advanced enough for them to be able to pick fruits. Certain fruits such as strawberries must be handled with care so as to not ruin them. Grippers are finally becoming advanced enough so that they can venture out into a field and pick salads/fruits.
While it may seem like they will cannibalize manual labor, that is not expressly the case. The human population is rising at a rapid rate, and manual labor is failing to keep up. According to CNN, robots such as this will be able to help deal with the shortage of manual labor.
Sadly, the robots are not extremely durable as of yet. However, they are already functioning in real-world environments and they will only get better.
Robots are present in food manufacturing from the start to the finish. Once the food has been prepared, robots are now used to package the food instead of manual labor.
Specifically, companies often use pick and place robots along with a host of other machinery to almost completely automate their packaging process. Everything from sealing the package to labeling can be performed by the robot itself.
Manual labor no longer has to perform tedious tasks hundreds of times a day. Instead, they can be trained to perform skilled roles that pay higher. The company also gets to save money as a smaller workforce is required at the lower level.
Butchering animals has always been a very difficult and dangerous task for humans. It requires a lot of strength, which led to the use of sharp tools and machinery. However, using tools that can slice through meat so easily poses obvious dangers to the workers.
Automation was always a problem in the butchering industry due to each carcass being unique. While advanced processes have not been automated as of yet, there definitely have been many advancements.
Scott automation is one of the companies that has managed to find a way to use robots for cutting beef. Many manufacturers, including the US giant JBS, have already implemented these robots and are in the process of automating even more of their operations.
Decorating cakes is an art in itself! Many complicated cakes have taken the designers hours to complete, and it is a tedious process getting the details right.
Robot cake decorators, such as those offered by Varo Machinery, have been a huge blessing for bakers across the world. Not only are robots able to work around the clock (thus increasing output), but they are simply incapable of making a mistake (unless programmed incorrectly).
The decorators are able to work with both warm as well as colder cakes. All you need to do is supply the robot with the appropriate materials, and it will do the rest.
Robots can not only help prepare your food, but they can get it to you as well. While driverless cars will obviously be used for food delivery once viable, other robots are also in constant development.
Dominos Pizza is one such company. After using autonomous drones in New Zealand as far back as 2016, they have recently been making use of delivery vehicles instead.
Dominos teamed up with Nuro, a company that is very experienced in using robots for delivery. Nuro has also used their robots to deliver groceries. As of now, the technology is in its experimental phase. Robots have been able to deliver products successfully in limited areas such as university campuses. However, it will be a while before we see delivery robots in metropolitan areas.
Robots have had a storied past and they have a bright future. Nowadays, we can see them everywhere. The food industry is just one of many industries that is being completely redefined due to automation. It wouldn’t be surprising to see robots become an integral part of our lives within the next few decades.
One thing is for certain. We will not be serving the next culinary innovation on a plate. Instead, we are going to engineer it in a lab!