The food industry is miles behind when it comes to automation. Engineering firm QING is using Stäubli’s robotics and hygiene expertise and Robovision’s scalable AI software to take a big step forward. With this approach, food manufacturers can start automating with as little risk and concern as possible.
The food industry is crying out for innovation, in other words; automation and robotization. The world population is growing and the demand for food is increasing. On the other hand, the lack of labor is increasing, and capacity in the industry is decreasing. This is obviously not a sustainable situation and many food manufacturers are forced to automate.
Automation in the food sector has many challenges; you are dealing with fragile products and strict hygiene guidelines. As a result, entrepreneurs experience doubts about starting with automation: is the payback period profitable enough and does the process maintain its current quality?
QING, Stäubli and Robovision are all pioneers when it comes to innovation and technical development in the agri-food sector. The three companies agree: Automation must become possible and easier for every food producer.
High-tech engineering firm QING from Arnhem adds Stäubli’s expertise in robotics and hygiene and Robovision’s scalable AI software to the approach. QING combines these forces with their own innovation know-how and controlled agile approach to enable automation with as little worry and risk as possible.
Insight into feasibility in advance
Food producers want to maintain continuity and quality in the production processes. Automation ensures not only continuity, but also growth opportunities. In addition to new opportunities, automation also brings risks, including financial risks. One often invests in a prototype where the feasibility of the solution or machine has not been demonstrated in advance. “This is now a thing of the past,” state the three high-tech companies.
Stäubli, Robovision and QING have designed a setup where the feasibility of an automation problem is tested. All risks and challenges are made transparent, the entrepreneur will no longer encounter unpleasant (financial) surprises during the process. This speeds up time-to-market and gives the entrepreneur a competitive advantage.
Adaptation thanks to AI integration
Hygiene guidelines play an important role in food production. The Stäubli HE (Humid Environment) robots are very suitable for production environments where sensitive and ecological products are used. “This, in combination with QING’s expertise, makes it possible to jointly create efficient and innovative solutions for complex or complex automation issues in the food sector,” says Jan Buit of Stäubli Robotics.
The food industry has many complex actions in the production processes for which there is no standard automation solution. “This collaboration offers new opportunities to tackle complex cases in a changing food production”, says Jonathan Berte, founder of Robovison. “QING implements Robovision’s AI platform in an accessible way for businesses. Together we create smart solutions with artificial intelligence in food production.”
The text continues below the image (photo: QING).
Robotic arm and part learning in food quality
Experience and knowledge in innovation, robotics and artificial intelligence are brought together in QING’s development laboratory. QING’s engineers will work with a food-grade robotic arm and deep learning to test the feasibility of the problem. Proof of Concepts is done in the lab without you having to make a risky investment first.
“With this set-up, we make it possible to edit or move a product – regardless of changes in the product or the environment. We combine the robot’s flexibility of action and the thinking ability of deep learning. This opens the door to automating a number of activities that are currently only performed by humans,” says Teun Keusters, Deep Learning Engineer at QING.
Test in the laboratory
Entrepreneurs in the food industry can go to the laboratory with their problem. The robot setup with AI integration can test various operations, such as packing and accurately sorting products, stacking packaging and performing quality checks.
QING engineers like to be challenged by problems of high technical complexity. A full feasibility plan will be provided within two weeks. The plan provides insight into all possible risks and challenges. Food manufacturers can expect full service, integration of the solution and personal support to steer the implementation in the right direction.