- Food and beverage manufacturers are a relatively small group of customers for the industrial robotics industry. But growth of robotics adoption in this segment is outpacing other traditional industries like automotive and electronics and will continue through 2022, according to a report from Research and Markets.
- In global food and beverage, the robotics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 29% through 2019 to a total of almost 30,000 units, according to a recent Technavio report.
- In food and beverage manufacturing, robots are commonly used for palletizing, packaging and repacking, picking and placing, and production and processing. Palletizing (nearly 46% market share in 2014) and packaging are the main application segments.
As food and beverage plays plays catch up with other industries, a few things are front and center; initial investment, smooth adoption and operation and consumer perceptions.
Robotics, which can help offset rising labor costs, can be a significant investment in terms of installation and maintenance. Concerns about human error when operating robots, has also played a role in the limited growth of food and beverage industrial robots.
Another drawback is the social concern around the use of robots. Mondelez is embroiled in labor issues concerning layoffs at its Chicago bakery after shifting operations to new production lines at its Salinas, Mexico plant. The perception that robots, which perform dull, dangerous, or dirty tasks and do not require paid holidays and benefits, are stealing human jobs could trigger public relations concerns.