In plant trial of robotic picking and packing system

16 November 2023
Focus area: Hands-off processing
Program stream: Advanced manufacturing
Project number: 2018-1050
This project examined the viability of an automated robotic system to pick and pack primal cuts, through trialling the technology on real products at the JBS Brooklyn plant. The technology itself was developed in a previous project (AMPC Project 2017-1065), and consisted of a six-axis industrial robot, and a vacuum pad foam gripper, used in conjunction with a high-resolution three-dimensional computer vision system.

Although only a subset of primal cuts was picked and packed for the purpose of this in-plant trial, the project successfully demonstrated the practicality and viability of the system, in terms of integration, installation and performance. 

There is still work to be done to continue to test the technology and fully commercialise these concepts, however the results of this project should give confidence to the industry to continue this avenue of research in the future. In the foreseeable future, it is envisaged that plants will have the potential to automate the picking and packing of around 70 per cent of primal cuts using similar technologies, leaving 30 per cent to humans, achieving automation whilst maintaining a degree of flexibility.

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