Soft Robotics’ Produce Automation Solutions

(Sponsored) Food processors grappling with labor shortages, more rigorous food safety standards and greater competition, are turning to industrial robots. The labor shortage creates issues when it comes to staffing, but many jobs have always been difficult to fill. Take the task of manually picking, sorting and packaging food items such as corn on the cob, onions, avocados, tomatoes, and apples. It can be difficult to find motivated employees who can process these foods accurately — especially for hours on end. In addition, human employees get tired, which makes them prone to making mistakes.

Turning Toward Automation

When designed, specified, and integrated properly, advanced automation systems leveraging robots, machine vision, and artificial intelligence software provide an effective, novel method for automating disparate processes across myriad industries.

As a result, companies are turning to automation at unprecedented rates. But some industries are facing other challenges, as certain applications struggle to effectively automate tasks previously done by humans. In the food industry, for example, robots don’t have the dexterity required to handle delicate or difficult-to-grasp items.

Gaining a Grip

In need of a soft handling, a food-grade IP69K safe gripper could easily be adjusted to hold different types of produce including corn, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. Soft Robotics’ mGrip™ soft gripper technology allows robots to safely and efficiently pick and pack food products while also increasing throughput and efficiency. The patented elastomeric plastic grippers use food-safe materials and hollow gripper fingers with flexible holds that are pneumatically controllable at low pressure, which allows the gripper to gently grasp objects such as corn without having to change or adapt variables of the automation system.

Soft Gripper, 3D Vision and Artificial Intelligence

In 2021, Soft Robotics introduced mGripAI. mGripAI is an easy-to-integrate automation package that combines ultra-fast 3D vision, artificial intelligence technologies and mGrip IP69K food-grade soft gripper – providing industrial robots the hand-eye coordination of humans. This unprecedented combination of robotic “hands,” “eyes,” and “brains” enables, for the first time ever, the use of high-speed industrial robots to automate bulk picking processes throughout the produce, protein, and baked goods industries. This transformational technology results in high-speed automation, reduced automation system footprint, less reliance on human labor and lowers operational costs. mGripAI is also easily integrated with all industrial robots. 

About Soft Robotics

Soft Robotics’ transformational robotic automation solutions enable System Integrators, OEM machine builders and Food Processors to automate complex production processors in the food and consumer packaged goods industries – solving supply chain issues and eliminating the reliance of human labor to maintain operational efficiencies.  With hundreds of systems in daily operation worldwide, Soft Robotics’ picking technology has achieved billions of successful picks in global production facilities.

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