9.4. Automation and Customised orders

Automation for repetitive tasks

Automation for repetitive everyday tasks such as loading/unloading, assembly, packaging, pick and place, sorting, piling and spacing at very high speeds, have undoubtedly have been the robot’s sector. These kind of tasks are often found in the food sector. Manufacturers are trying to slowly replace the human workforce with robots, as they are more efficient and with less room for errors. Other benefits gained from this is the ability to satisfy the growing need of supply and demand, the food safety and hygiene, simplifying maintenance and preventing human injuries. A technology that is often applied in the food and beverage industry is the gripper technology. The gripper is a sub-system of an equipment that comes into contact with a gripped object. The gripper system is able to not leave any visible marks on the items after gripping them and high hygiene standards. Between the surface of the food and gripper there is negative pressure which holds the products. With this technology there is no need for pipes or tubes that cannot by easily cleaned. Other tasks such as slicing, deboning, portioning, skewing, filling and sorting are also possible with this technology.

Customised Orders

The main objective on Industry 4.0 is to achieve individual customer needs and preferences. This effects areas such as order management, product design, research and development, commissioning, shipment, utilization, recycling of the products and other related services. With the increasing of customisation in customer requirements, the technologies for manufacturing or 3D printers have turned to food manufacturing. In the most basic principal, products that are manufactured by a 3D Food printer are in layers in a particular process according to the recipe. A newer category of 3D printer called binding printers is able to “glue” materials together with a type of edible cement. The latest tech of 3D printers’ features nozzles, lasers, syringe and robotic arms working on powdery material to produce customized patterned chocolate or geometrically different pastry. Other possible customizations include taste, nutritional content, texture and colour

The technology has opened the possibility to produce personalized products and therefore, provide the companies an access for a new market opportunity that is focused on the customers who enjoy purchasing exclusive products or required specific diet for health. This technology, when implemented in the manufacturing sector could potentially solve producing products that have a complex geometry or required tedious assemblage. According to Noor Zafira and Noor Hasnan and Yuzainee Md Yusoff, 3D food printers have the potential to make a similar breakthrough as with the microwave back then in 70’s, where the users are able to make fresh meals at home quickly.


For further reading: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333062733_Short_review_Application_Areas_of_Industry_40_Technologies_in_Food_Processing_Sector

Additional Task: https://h5p.org/node/732624