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Update on shadow robots

23 October 2021
1 minute read

Earlier this year AMPC issued a challenge to providers across the world asking them to develop concepts for ‘shadow robotic’ solutions and how this might apply to meat processing and the results have been outstanding.

The aim of the technology is safety and improved accuracy. ‘Shadow robots’ have the ability to have employees operate equipment, without directly interacting with it. Successful solutions will ensure employees do not need to engage directly with bandsaws and cutting implements. A ‘shadow robot’ might do this for them.

The technology will initially see processors place operational staff within control rooms on processing floors. 

With advances in connectivity, such as NBN and 5G, processors could have employees housed in control rooms away from the processing location or have staff operate equipment from their computers at home, or from anywhere in the world. 

Shadow robotics will not only improve safety but make it possible for a wider range of employees, including those who are less physically strong and those not located on site, to be trained in new roles.

AMPC is now 9 months into the project and has selected five technology providers from Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. They are looking at shadow robotics in a different way and are all at different stages of development. Some have provided videos outlining how their solution may work, whilst others are at concept development stages. Others are trialling their equipment to see how it works. 

The technology solutions range from haptic joystick technology where feedback is provided back to the operator (think of feedback you receive through the steering wheel of your car) through to vision tracking sensors that track a human movement where a robot then shadows the operator’s exact movements. 

AMPC’s Program Manager Stuart Shaw said, “The next steps for AMPC are continuing to work with these providers to complete their current development work as well as talking to processors to install ‘proof of concept’ and prototype systems in their processing facilities to run production trials.”

“This will take time, and depending on the how the processing plant wants to use the technology, it may require further development. It’s an exciting time for AMPC. The project has moved quickly and I’m really looking forward to trialling this in plants in 6-12 months’ time.” 

shadow robot image
Next in this focus area 23 October 2021 Beef scribing program - optimising each carcase