Home >Robotics takes centre stage at PPMA Show 2015
Robotics takes centre stage at PPMA Show 2015
26 June 2015
Organisers of the PPMA Show 2015 have announced a new feature for this year’s event which will showcase cutting-edge, inventive and quirky uses of robotic technology including robots that can dance, pour drinks and even play snooker.
The Robotics and Industrial Vision zone will reveal just how far robotics and automation has come while Rich Walker, Managing Director, Shadow Robot Company will highlight future innovative uses of robotics including the innovative ‘Moley robotic kitchen’ – capable of cooking chef quality meals in a normal kitchen. Speaking at the show in September, Rich Walker reveals more about what visitors can expect.
What is the basis of your seminar presenation at the PPMA Show 2015?
At the PPMA Show I will be discussing one of our most recent projects. A client came to us and set us the challenge to build a kitchen that could cook by itself. The client did not want their automated kitchen to look like a production line. What they wanted was a robotic cook that cooked the way a chef does, in a kitchen a person could also use.
We took the project back to basics and identified human hands as the pivotal part of the build. We have been working for two decades with specialists from around the world to create robotic hands that can perform at the same level as a human can. The robot chef comes about as close as we can get to the human hand and the base technology could be widely used across the FMCG sector in the future.
The robotic chef has some interesting needs – for example, ingredients prepared and packaged in specific ways – that we think should have a lot of interest for PPMA attendees, as it creates a wide range of new business opportunities.
How can robotics influence the FMCG industry in the future?
Robots are smarter than ever, easier to configure and versatile. They will be able to cope with a wider range of tasks and will be easier to modify to undertake new tasks. The use of robotics could be cost effective on short run production lines that have as little as a six month payback period, because a versatile robot allows a manufacturer to redeploy the robot to multiple successive production lines. Robots will no longer be seen as instruments for speciality tasks – easily adapted robots will be universally used across the food industry.
What is the future of the robotics industry in general?
The robotics industry in general will likely follow the same path as that of the food manufacturing and processing industry. Robots are fast becoming more flexible in the tasks that they can undertake and their ability to execute complex tasks reliably and quickly is rapidly increasing.
Jobs where we use humans out of frustration will become a thing of the past and the improved reliability of robots will lead to greater use. Take for example the way in which we currently harvest fruit. It is a laborious job and requires a lot of workers which are often hard to source. Robotic technology could be used to solve this industry wide problem and streamline operational efficiency for many businesses.
Why have you chosen to speak the PPMA Show?
I have chosen to speak at the show in September to reach the key figures in the packaging and processing industry and I believe the PPMA Show is the perfect event to do it at. The influence that robotics could have on the industry could potentially rip up way in which the supply chain currently operates and totally rebuild it. We currently have all the tricks and toys necessary to offer an increased level of automation across the industry. By speaking at the PPMA Show, I’m hoping to have some really profitable conversations with industry professionals, finding out how they feel robotics can benefit their businesses as well as identifying potential solutions to any problems they may have. It is the best place to meet the people with the ‘knowhow’ and also a great way to network with food processing and packaging professionals.