Food Manufacturing and Processing Machinery Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the domestic food manufacturing industry, and has found out the current attempts made for automation and manpower-saving, the technology development trend at the food manufacturing/processing machinery makers and engineering companies, and the future outlook. Based on the results of a questionnaire survey on domestic food manufacturers, this research outlines the current state of robot installation in the food manufacturing plants.
Summary of Research Findings
Compared to other manufacturing sectors or other industries, the food manufacturing industry is highly labor intensive. However, due to the serious manpower shortage, the number of companies considering the implementation of robots, automation by machines, and manpower-saving by the use of IoT/AI is increasing.
When it comes to manpower saving by robot installation, attention is often given on the automation of an operation such as a “dish-up” process of ‘obento’ (lunchboxes). Nevertheless, quite a few technical issues are piled up for full-automation of this task, and making it practical is likely to take some time. On the other hand, introduction of robots in the downstream processes (packaging, packing in the cardboard boxes, palletizing, etc.) is proceeding. Thus, it is efficient to save labor by starting from machine-replaceable processes and to allocate human workers at more delicate processes that require human hands. To implement automation by use of robots and pursue manpower-saving, the entire food industry must become accustomed to the robots, and each company should become capable of determining in which operation is effective to use the robots.
Food Manufacturing Plants Using Robots Up 10 Points-Plus from 2017
According to the result of the questionnaire research on the domestic food manufacturers, 50.4% of the respondents, approximately half of the companies, answered that they “have already introduced robots”. This was up by 13.6 points from 36.8%, the result of the survey conducted in 2017.
Furthermore, it was found that regarding to the specific application of the robots in production process, in majority cases they were installed in the downstream processes such as packing, packaging, and palletizing.
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