FANUC expands into food sector with Soft Robotics partnership

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

FANUC to expand into the food sector with Soft Robotics. Photo: FANUC
FANUC to expand into the food sector with Soft Robotics. Photo: FANUC

Related tags: Robots, Factory of the Future, processing, Automation, AI

FANUC, a manufacturer of industrial robots, has expanded into the food and grocery sector, thanks to a partnership with Soft Robotics.

Soft Robotics produce gripping machines for today’s ‘ever-changing manufacturing supply chain’ without the cost and complexity of traditional robotic systems.

'Factory of the Future'

Soft Robotics

The partnership means FANUC can access Soft Robotics’ ‘Factory of the Future’ technology, which uses AI (Artificial Intelligence), while Soft Robotics can take advantage of FANUC’s global customers.

FANUC will also accelerate adoption of integrated soft robotics into high-growth automation markets worldwide.
 
Speaking about the partnership, Kenichiro Abe, GM, robot mechanical development laboratory, FANUC, said the collaboration came about due to a ‘shared realisation of the growth opportunity in the 'General Industry' market, encompassing food processing and packaging and consumer goods, among others, because these segments were previously off-limits due to the complexity of handling products with shape variability, overall fragility and strict regulatory requirements.

FANUC will now implement Soft Robotics’ technology into its portfolio including Soft Robotics’ mGrip.
 
Soft Robotics has demonstrated its expertise in tackling some of the most vexing problems facing the food, beverage and consumer goods industries, particularly with respect to the high variability of products and processes,​” said Abe. 

High growth markets

Together, we can move robots off the assembly line into more real-world applications and provide differentiated value to high growth markets where automation has historically been infeasible​.”
 
Soft Robotics’ mGrip modular gripper system, for example, has enabled manufacturers to implement robotic applications into consumer goods manufacturing, food processing and packaging, and e-commerce supply chain automation. 

MGrip
mGrip

The grippers also adhere to stringent compliance standards and certification as outlined by the US FDA, Japan, and European Commission for direct food handling. 

Carl Vause, CEO, Soft Robotics, added, when combined with FANUC’s global reach in robotics, it will be able to offer end-users and system integrators automation technology which can address previously unexplored sectors, due to their automation challenges.  

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