Robots for food industry at Agroprodmash 2023
The conference programme of the Agroprodmash 2023 international exhibition featured the conference on Robots in the Food Industry, organised by the Russian Association of Robotics (RAR) together with EXPOCENTRE and supported by the Food Policy Committee of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The discussion was moderated by Olga Mudrova, Executive Director at RAR. She noted that Agroprodmash gathered a large number of participants who are interested in robotisation and automation. “We are robotising,” the moderator stated. “There are more and more robots at the exhibition, the interest of participants in them is growing. The main issue being discussed is the efficiency of robot installation.”
Olga Mudrova stressed that the food industry is traditionally among the top three most robotised enterprises and industries. If we compare 2022 and 2023, the growth in the number of robotisation projects being implemented in the Russian food industry is guaranteed to be more than 30%. In addition to a large number of ready-made solutions that can be seen at the stands of the Agroprodmash exhibition, opportunities to support systemic upgrade of production lines are expanding with the help of additional preferential financing terms, subsidies, and grants. These programmes are developed and operate at both federal and regional levels.
“There are also problems,” stated the head of RAR. “There is a lack of sustainable demand. The search for customers requires serious preparatory procedures, detailed familiarisation with robotisation cases. This affects both the efficiency and the payback of projects. There are also concerns about human resources, as a robot requires a skilled approach on the part of the person who works with it. On the other hand, there is a large number of training programmes and measures to support human resources, without which it is difficult to imagine the automation of enterprises.”
Anna Shavaleyeva, Director at Meridian Automation, told the conference participants about the current automation trends that are noted by industry experts in the Russian food industry. She drew attention to active import substitution in this important sphere of technologies, including digital ones.
Konstantin Tolstoy, Development Director at RoboPro, dedicated his speech to collaborative robots (cobots), which can work together with humans, performing the required technological operations with the help of manipulators. The cobots are increasingly used in production with their flexible reprogramming capabilities. The speaker gave examples of the correct calculation of the cost-effectiveness of introducing such cobots in the food industry when replacing manual labour by automated labour.
The issues of strategic planning when implementing robots at food industry enterprises were highlighted in her speech by Tatiana Onistratenko, Director at MP-Technologies. She drew the attention of the conference participants to the importance of a systematic approach when automating and robotising food production facilities, taking into account not only the structure of production processes, but also ‘the architecture of the product’, which ultimately ensures high and stable demand for it, which makes the business profitable and robotisation effective.
The conference participants touched upon many other aspects of robotisation that is rapidly developing in the Russian and global food industry, shared their best practices in implementing modern robot technologies in practical production, discussed various aspects of point and complex robotisation at enterprises.
Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO