Automation Trends: From Buzzwords to Real Needs

Automation will solve many problems—but not without people supporting it.

Derrick Colyer, Business Development Manager at E Tech Group, shares his insights in this latest Food Engineering article on automation trends. Derrick discusses the role of AI in food manufacturing, and why digital transformation needs to come first. 

The food and beverage industry has been one of the slowest to adopt new technologies—and maybe that’s a good thing. The auto, chemical and petroleum industries, for example, have served well as testbeds for new automation technologies. Meanwhile, food and beverage has benefitted from all the trialing and proving of “bleeding-edge” systems such that the buzzwords we’ve used for the last few years—e.g., “digital transformation,” AI/ML, “digital twin” and Industry 4.0—are becoming everyday terms that describe technology we now rely upon to be competitive in today’s changing world of consumer tastes.

So, I asked system integrators, engineering houses and automation suppliers what their food processor clients perceive to be the three to five key trends/issues in automation today, and how processors are taking advantage of these automation trends. After tabulating the results, the top five trends cited were:

  • Visualization (including enterprise, platform, machine and remote visibility)
  • Data collection and analytics plus AI/ML
  • Digital transformation
  • Robotics and automated material handling (extending to warehouse automation)
  • Security/cybersecurity.

This article was originally published by Food Engineering Magazine. Click here to read the full article.