Food Manufacturers Fuel Growth Using Automation

Processing eggs in large volumes is the only way to compete in this sector of the food and beverage industry, and processor CMC Wholesalers LLC of Fanwood, New Jersey is using robotics to the fullest. Learn about the key advantages of using robots in this look at Why I Automate.

Robots have consistent movements that are programmed, predictable and they can work long hours without a break. They use the same touch hour after hour and won’t deviate like people and that makes them a smart choice in automation. In a CNBC video, Robots Assist Wholesaler Process 200K Eggs Per Hour, CMC president Michael Culley says the family-owned company processes between 75,000 dozen eggs to 90,000 dozen eggs per day Monday through Friday.

Breakage is less using robots and the automation is helping the company keep up with demand and expand their business. CMC Wholesalers had outgrown a previous distribution center and moved to a 104,000 square foot facility that enabled them to maximize automation in every phase of their operation.

The robots used include a de-palletizer that loads the eggs on to the machine and two palletizers to load the finished cases on to the pallets.

Automation Creating Jobs

In the original article on CNBC.com, An egg-handling robot touches a delicate question about jobs of the future, food manufacturers that set up warehouses may have robots making up about 70 percent of the workforce.

While that figure appears to threaten future warehouse jobs, the video shows Michael Culley giving another perspective. There were no layoffs and CMC Wholesalers has grown from over 30 employees January 2016 to over 80 by the fall of 2016, including hiring more forklift drivers.

Using automation has become a normal process of investing in and setting up operations for food manufacturers. The programmability gives control “over an environment, and the less variables at play, the more an investment in automation becomes supported.”

Automation Saving Bodies

Robots have more benefits than just repeating one task rapidly. An article on the website of Robotic Industries Association, Robots Help Feed the World, describes how automation takes the place of workers doing physically dangerous jobs.

In one company, workers were stooped over a fast-moving conveyor belt loading ice cream bars. The job was so taxing that workers had to rotate to another task every 15 minutes. Even then, they walked away with neck and back strain.

Automation Filling Positions

Future labor shortages in the food manufacturing business are real possibilities. The workforce is aging and younger workers are showing less interest in food and beverage production.

Labor problems are compounded with strict sanitation requirements. Robots are filling positions that deal in extreme temperatures and in physically demanding labor.

Another article on Fooddive.com, Pros and cons of adopting industrial robots in food, beverage industry, states that growth of robotics adoption in this segment is outpacing other traditional industries like automotive and electronics and will continue through 2022.

Robots are playing an integral role in food manufacturing and will continue to do so. Getting your company ready to embrace robotics may be another matter. Leverage the trainings, memberships, and free resources, like the Why I Automate video series, on A3.

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