What can we expect in the future of vision-guided robotics that is practical, reliable and cost-effective? There are tremendous advances being made in vision for measuring product density for portioning, inspecting packaging seal integrity and checking for low-density foreign materials, says Sam Collup, director of sales for Cantrell-Gainco Group. As robotics become more economical and customers’ needs change to reduce reliance on human staffing, robotics for repetitive tasks such as cutting, positioning, and pick-and-place tasks will become more accepted by customers.
No doubt about it, COVID-19 has changed the way most—if not all—businesses operate. While food and beverage processors have had to struggle with supply chain issues, robotics and system suppliers have had to face similar supply chain problems, plus come up with solid methods of service and maintenance support during the pandemic.
A combination of funding cuts, aging infrastructure, and new pollutants has pushed the responsibility for water treatment back upstream to the facilities that produce the wastewater. This means food and beverage processors and other manufacturers that generate copious amounts of wastewater.
While not intuitively obvious, some processes lend themselves to having their control systems linked to a building’s control system, climate controls or HVAC. For example, a spiral freezer should be linked with process and environmental controls to save energy and improve the process. Other process applications that can benefit from further integration with environmental controls include drying, baking and other yeast-based processes.
Moving from an all-analog means of keeping track of process and storage temperatures can provide numerous benefits—for example, getting more robust measurements with higher stability, reliability and accuracy. In addition, you get better diagnostic information from the sensors themselves, and this information—coupled with temperature and other process variables—can help you get a better grip on your process and on maintenance, too.
Downey Ridge Environmental Co., developer of Greasezilla, has come up with a FOG separation system that can be implemented at food plants. I asked Ron Crosier, president of Downey Ridge, to fill us in on who might use Greasezilla and how it works.