A tri-company project representing the best of British innovation and application expertise has won the Robotics & Automation category of the Food Processing Awards 2013. The project combines multi-axis robotics, 3D vision technology and development and integration expertise to automate baked product decoration. This is a process that was previously done manually because of the non-uniform shape of baked goods. The three companies involved were Mitsubishi Electric, whose robot technology has already won worldwide recognition, Scorpion Vision who provided a powerful 3D machine vision system and Quasar Automation, renowned for creating solutions to the most challenging applications in food manufacturing.
The Food Processing Awards are a much-respected part of the annual Appetite for Engineering event for the food manufacturing and processing industry and provide a fitting celebration for achievements in the field. Again the Awards presentation ceremony was held in conjunction with a gala dinner attended by many of the major companies and people in the industry.
All categories were hotly contested, with the winners being decided by votes from readers of Food Processing magazine and website. Editor Chris Shaw says: "This year we received an all-time high number of votes, which demonstrates the regard that all of our nominees have within the industry. With such a high standard of entrants, there was very little to separate them and I would like to offer a big thanks to our readers who took the time to cast their votes."
Looking at the technicalities of the winning baked product icing system, Jeremy Shinton of Mitsubishi explains: "There is a persistent problem with food products in general and baked goods in particular with the non-uniform shape of the finished product. This makes applying any kind of final embellishment, such as piped icing or other forms of decorative solutions in an accurate way, very much a manual task.
"Mitsubishi Electric and Scorpion Vision have teamed up with Quasar Automation to create a decorative depositing method that takes into account the irregular shapes but maintains the depositor at a constant height above the work piece. With such accuracy the decorative icing is applied in a repeatable way. This allows the optimum time for the icing to set, often a critical issue in real-world production processes."
Jeremy continues: "What is particularly rewarding about the Food Processing Awards is that they are voted for by industrial professionals, who understand the issues the industry faces and appreciate the advances being showcased."
To find out more about robot technology from Mitsubishi Electric, please visit automation.mitsubishielectric.co.uk.