Gulfood 2017 shows demand for industrial robots on the rise


THE international food manufacturing and processing industry is embarking on arguably its biggest transformation to date as robots, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and artificial intelligence shape the factories of the future and play an increasingly prominent role in the global food supply chain.

Amid increasing consumer demand for convenience, sustainability and affordability, and tighter food safety regulations, manufacturers and producers need more efficient and cost-effective production, processing and distribution solutions to meet demands. These key factors are driving the global food robotics market, which is estimated to be worth $1.37 billion by the end of this year and is forecast to rise at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.8 per cent over the next five years to reach $2.5 billion by 2022, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets.

With robots on the rise, the fourth edition of Gulfood Manufacturing, which runs until 2 November at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), is, for the first time, hosting a dedicated Automation and Controls show sector. The zone features dozens of Automation specialists and heavyweights - including Rockwell Automation, ABB and MECATHERM amongst others – showcasing futuristic food production, processing and packaging innovations.

ABB a leader in automation and control for more than 40 years, is marking its Gulfood Manufacturing debut by displaying what it claims is the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm industrial robot. YuMi allows humans and robots to work in close proximity to boost productivity and efficiency. Weighing a mere 38 kilograms, YuMi can be “taught a process by being physically guided through it, eliminating the need for complex, time-consuming code-based instruction,” said Mohammed Farahneh, Sales & Marketing Director – Food & Beverage Manufacturing, MEA at ABB.

In addition to showcasing the talents of YuMi , ABB is demonstrating the holistic future of robotics and digitization in the industry by showcasing more than 180 applications, including cloud-based data analytics and manufacturing executions systems that can help manufacturers improve their flexibility and reliability at reduced costs.

“The industry is going through a major shift, from the digitisation of operation to maintaining sustainable manufacturing methods and Gulfood Manufacturing has acknowledged this by creating a dedicated Automation and Controls sector. Participating at the show enables ABB to recognise any changing trends and ultimately demonstrate how we can meet the test industry needs and requirements for local, regional and international companies,” added Farahneh.

Also marking its first appearance at the show, Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, is showcasing its Connected Enterprise capabilities that offers food and beverage manufacturers a more agile response to constant changes in consumer tastes and preferences.

Rockwell Automation is displaying how it supports companies in their digital transformation, linking production lines, in-field assets, utilities and manufacturing and enterprise IT to deliver contextualized information that enables companies to make better decisions faster.

“Food and Beverage has historically been one of the biggest target segments for Rockwell Automation globally and the Middle East region is a key focus area as it moves towards digitization. Gulfood Manufacturing is an ideal platform to expand our footprint as we continue to be actively engaged in the region towards the deployment of Industry 4.0 based technologies,” said Boe Boesen, Enterprise Executive Sales, EMEA region, Rockwell Automation. “We deliver Automation and Information technologies that help food manufacturers with improved scalability and high-performance solutions at the lowest life cycle cost in the market.”

Leading Japanese exhibitor Kawasaki Robotics, in conjunction with Middle East partner Acme Automation, is displaying its latest automation solutions designed to increase efficiency and productivity for leading players in the food supply chain. The Kawasaki Y-Series High-Speed Picking robot has the capacity to move 400 products per minute, making it ideal for a wide range of applications. The firm’s B Series Robot offers the latest palletizing solution, which works at high speed and has a range of payload capabilities to perform heavy lifting and reduce turnaround time.

Automation and Controls is one of five dedicated sectors at Gulfood Manufacturing, along with Ingredients; Processing, Packaging, and Supply Chain Solutions. The three-day show features more than 1,600 exhibitors from more than 60 countries and 30 national pavilions showcasing the latest innovations, with first-time participation from countries including Poland and the CIS.

Gulfood Manufacturing 2017 opens from 10 am – 6 pm on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and 10 am – 5 pm on Nov. 2.

The show is open to F&B trade professionals only and visitor attendance is free of charge. — SG