(Food-Beverage-News.Com, February 07, 2020 ) The global food robotics market is projected to reach USD 2.50 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 12.80% from 2017. Factors such as increasing food safety regulations and the high demand for packaging & re-packaging in food production are expected to increase the demand for food robotics, globally. Furthermore, increasing instances of food contamination through human contact have encouraged manufacturers to employ industrial robots in the food & beverage manufacturing processes. The demand for food robotics is anticipated to increase in the Asia Pacific region, owing to the rapidly growing processed food industry.
With the increasing functionality of robots, more industries such as the food processing industry are adopting automation with low payload robots. Sections such as dairy and bakery in the food & beverage industry are minimizing human contact in the production process in order to comply with health authority standards. There is an opportunity for the food robotics market to grow with the increase in functionality of robots to include packaging, repackaging, and palletizing.
Limited skilled workforce is the major restraining factor for the market.
In countries where the food & beverage industry has high potential for growth—such as China, India, and Brazil—there is a skill shortage in this domain. This is because the knowledge of four to five engineering disciplines is required to become an expert in this field, and there is a scarcity of qualified faculty to train in the subjects. Moreover, there are limited branches of engineering that focus on robotics. This is a direct restraining factor for the food robotics market as the development of adequate skilled manpower is likely to be achieved only in the long run.
Most food manufacturers are reluctant to adopt automated processes due to the installation cost over and above the price of the robot. The added cost to turn the individual robots into a comprehensive robotic system, peripheral equipment such as safety barriers, sensors, programmable logic controllers (PLC), human-machine interface (HMI), and safety systems pose challenges for market growth.
Food robotics is used in the processing of various food products including meat, poultry, and seafood; dairy; bakery; fruits & vegetables; confectionery; and others.
One of the key factors driving the demand for food robotics is the growth of the processed food sector, owing to the dependence of consumers on ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products. The beverage industry includes the use of robotics in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage production. Packaging is the key function of robots in the beverage industry. Robotics are used for the packaging of beverages in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, clarified polypropylene (PP) bottles, Polyethylene (PE) bottles, glass bottles, and jars, of various capacities, sizes, and shapes.
Robots are used in the meat, poultry, and seafood industry to perform functions such as defeathering, deboning, cutting, splitting, and packaging. The demand for wash-down robots and end-of-arm-tooling (EOAT) robots in meat processing has significantly increased post the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Processing of fruits & vegetables requires a controlled atmosphere due to their perishable nature; they also require quick processes to maintain their freshness and optimal quality. The industry uses robotics primarily for performing processing functions such as sorting, grading, cutting, peeling, and cleaning.
The Asia-Pacific region is projected to have the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The countries covered in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to be the fastest-growing market for food robotics due to the demand for ready-to-eat products has increased rapidly among consumers. The packaged food consumption growth increased due to urbanization in the Asia-Pacific region.
The key players identified have a strong presence in the global food robotics market. These include Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan), ABB Group (Switzerland), Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (Japan), Rockwell Automation Incorporated (U.S.), FANUC Corporation (Japan), KUKA AG (Germany), Seiko Epson Corporation (Japan), Yaskawa Electric Corporation (Japan), Staubli International Corporation (Switzerland), Mayekawa Mfg. Co., Ltd. (Japan), Universal Robots A/S (Denmark), and Bastian Solutions Inc. (U.S.).
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