Transparency, sustainability, waste reduction and food safety are all significant concerns in need of addressing if food manufacturers want to stay relevant, competitive and optimally profitable, and relying on old strategies is no longer a viable option.
A survey by McKinsey states that the adoption of automated technologies in the food and beverage industry is relatively slow compared to other sectors, with only 48 per cent of manufacturers considering themselves ready for Industry 4.0.
Manufacturing is beset by major challenges that are made worse by hyper shifts in supply and demand. Three main areas that are persistently an issue for Manufacturers are quality and safety issues, waste and underperforming assets, and high environmental impact.
Trouble often comes from the surfaces that warehouses, processing plants and other facilities use. Without the right surface material, bacteria can collect even with the right practices in place - raising the risk of food contamination.
According to an industry survey, the majority of food manufacturing companies are expecting to increase production. However, the same study suggested automation does not offer enough flexibility to fulfil an increase in production.
Foodborne illness is the global threat to the world. Associations and government bodies have put up strict guidelines to follow in the processing line. Therefore, manufacturers are bound to use hygienic food processing equipment to meet the regulations.
In the late 2010s, breweries began to explore the usage of AI and automation in crafting beer. Considering the rate at which AI technology is taking over production and service sectors across the world, the integration came as no surprise.
The food manufacturing industry stands apart due to its continual reliance on people. No matter how much automation exists in a plant, people still need to oversee things. Employees will not become obsolete with the introduction of IIoT.
Adding robot systems to any stage in food and beverage manufacturing will help to increase throughput. Robots work consistently, around-the-clock allowing for dependable production rates. The latest innovations increase production flexibility and decrease changeover time.
The future of IoT in the very competitive food service space relies on the innovations of applications which provide clear ROI or have a strong business case. It is a pennies business and each application will need to stand on its own.
BeeHex, Inc., the 3D food printing company that "promises to change the way food is made", completed its $1,000,000 seed round led by Grote Company founder, Jim Grote.
BeeHex, with its flagship product Chef 3D, builds 3D food printing systems that assemble and deliver fresh foods. Best known for printing pizza, in 2016 BeeHex teamed up with Michelin bib gourmand-rated Italian chef Pasquale Cozzolino to create gluten-free and savory pizza crust options using an 80-year-old mother yeast. BeeHex's Chef 3D systems began 2016 with a "print time" of six minutes to create a 12" pizza and exited 2016 with a print time at around the one-minute mark. BeeHex systems will allow for personalized food orders from an app and also with the push of a button, fit for commercial kitchen use. Full Press Release:
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