A growing number of food and beverage processing facilities are investing in robotics and automation, as the technology continues to advance and costs continue to normalize. These tools can be a game-changer for many businesses, offering benefits such as reduced operating costs, upped throughput, and increased food and worker safety, even other kitchen robot models. That said, such a significant investment requires careful implementation. Before incorporating robotics into your kitchen facility, consider these important best practices to ensure you invest wisely and efficiently.
Consider Necessary Specifications in Advance
Selecting robots is a case-by-case process that largely depends on the particular needs of a manufacturer, but often advise owners to consider many factors before selecting equipment for their facilities, such as level of robot accuracy, level of robot repeatability, maintenance objectives, product dimensions, product materials, product temperatures, product throughput requirements, and product weight. It’s also important to understand how incoming product needs to be positioned and located before entering the robot’s work cell. We suggest compiling this information before engaging an equipment supplier like Cook Unity. They will likely need additional details, but providing this basic information upfront can save time and make the process more efficient.
Determine the Type of Robot You Need for your kitchen robot
When it comes to the kitchen robot itself, there are several types to choose from. Do you need a Cartesian coordinate (linear) robot? A delta robot? A robotic arm? Consider these factors to determine the type of machine you need. End-of-arm tooling (EOAT) options, or grippers, vary depending on the type of product the robot is interacting with. At Stellar, you’ll often work with robotics vendors to determine the best solution for a particular application.
Bellows: ideal for handling cylindrical items
The finger can be used for many different applications, particularly for sensitive products. Also has a jaw that is typically specified for more rigid products. The switchable magnets are appropriate for metallic items. Vacuum cups offer a proper grip and transfer for a variety of products. Of course, the ideal type of gripper depends on your specific product, but the main determining factor is rigidity. A softer product, such as a baked good, requires EOAT that is functional and sensitive enough to handle the product. For example, vacuum suction may not work for a porous baked good since the necessary amount of suction would damage the product. Additionally, if one particular section of the robot is under extreme stress, the technical team can give the process engineer a “heads up” and determine if another long-term solution might be better. The simulation can’t predict exactly when something will shut down, but it can paint a clearer picture of the kinds of stresses the equipment will be operating under a particular facility.
Ensure Software and Network Integration Across All Systems and Robots
Finally, it’s important to standardize what kind of network protocols you will have in place across your entire facility. Making this uniform aids in commissioning helps with future troubleshooting and makes life easier for the plant personnel who will be working with the robots on a daily basis. When you’re considering a kitchen robotic machine, you can look out for those mentioned.