Food / Beverage

FANUC A3reportQ12021 400x275Substantial increases in robot orders from the metals sector, pharmaceuticals, food and consumer goods helped drive a 20% increase in North American robot orders during the first quarter of 2021, the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reported today. The Q1 2021 numbers were also the second-largest quarter ever for non-automotive sector robot sales, as companies recovering from COVID-19 slowdowns realize that robotics and automation can help them recover.

 

MisoRoboticsSW400x275Miso Robotics, which develops intelligent automation solutions for the foodservice industry, has announced a stand-alone software as a service (SaaS) offering, CookRight. The artificial intelligence-powered cooking platform can automatically identify and track products and tasks within a kitchen.

 

NeuralaScan400x275Neurala, which develops AI vision software, has announced a partnership with IHI Logistics & Machinery to increase the effectiveness of optical character recognition (OCR) reading of package information by automatically identifying expiration dates. The goal is to reduce waste and relieve workers from mundane, repetitive tasks, the companies said in a statement.

 

MonarchTractorFounders400x275Monarch Tractor, which is developing a fully electric, driver-optional smart tractor, has announced the first deployment at Wente Vineyards, one of the oldest, continuously operated family winery in the U.S. The company said this is the first of 15 pilot series deployments prior to its production deliveries in Q4 2021 as the company looks to electrify the agricultural industry.

 

AMPRoboticsPET400x275AMP Robotics, which develops artificial intelligence, robotics and infrastructure for the waste industry, has deployed six of its AI-guided robotic sorting systems with Evergreen, one of the nation’s largest recyclers of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles at its Ohio processing facility. Evergreen is a subsidiary of Greenbridge, formerly Polychem, a manufacturer of polyester and polypropylene products serving the food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and industrial industries since 1974.

 

KrogerOcado400x275The Kroger Co. has launched its first Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in the U.S., combining vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics to provide customers with affordable, friendly and fast delivery of fresh food. Powered by Ocado Group, the CFC is located in Monroe, Ohio, a city north of Cincinnati. 

Kiwibot 400x275Kiwibot, a robotic delivery service that has completed more than 150,000 robot deliveries in Santa Monica, Calif., and other locations, has announced the launch of its next-generation Kiwibot 4.0. The company plans to expand deliveries to other cities beginning in May and has partnered with Chick-fil-a to pilot robot deliveries with the fast-food chicken giant.

SoftRoboticsmGrip400x275Soft Robotics has announced the expansion of its mGrip Modular Gripping System with new capabilities and an IP69K rating that enables safe food handling of proteins and dairy products. The company said these new features put more capabilities into the hands of machine builders to design flexible end-of-arm tools that can withstand high-pressure washdown environments.

 

DominosNuro Houston400x275Domino’s Pizza and Nuro have launched autonomous pizza delivery in Houston, the companies said in a statement. Starting this week, select customers in the Woodland Heights area who place a prepaid order through Dominos.com on certain days and times can choose to have their pizza delivered by the Nuro R2 robot.

AutoStoreMFC concept400x275Norwegian robotics technology company AutoStore has announced a partnership with Asian-American specialty grocery chain H Mart, in collaboration with Bastian Solutions, to introduce a fully automated micro-fulfillment center (MFC) to support H Mart’s online grocery operations in Carlstadt, N.J.

NuroVehicle400x275Nuro, which is developing autonomous on-road delivery vehicles, has announced new investors as part of the company’s Series C funding round. Included in the new investors are Woven Capital, a newly established growth-stage fund from Woven Planet, a Toyota subsidiary, and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

Piab CheeseSlices400x275Through the use of suction cups and vacuum generators, Piab and CAMA Group have created a new packaging system that can handle and package 280 pouches of cheese slices per minute. The system allows for the automatic handling of pouches of different formats at high process speeds.

Surfacide RedSox 400x275The Boston Red Sox have announced they have partnered with Surfacide, which develops UV disinfection robots, to help them safely reopen Fenway Park to fans in a few weeks. The company’s UV disinfection robots are the newest members of the Sox “roster”, working around the ballpark to kill 99.99% of dangerous pathogens on hard surfaces in a single cycle, in as little as five minutes, the company said in a statement.

MonarchTractor400x275Monarch Tractor, which develops a fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor, has announced closing a $20 million Series A funding round. The round includes investors from global industrial equipment manufacturers, automotive suppliers, venture capital firms, and impact capital companies. 

Serve Postmates400x275Following Uber’s acquisition of Postmates, the robotics division of Postmates has been spun out to create an independent company, called Serve Robotics. The new company said it has closed its first round of funding, led by venture capital firm Neo, with participation by Uber and other investors. The spinout will continue to develop its autonomous robots to deliver goods in urban environments to provide contactless delivery options. Terms of the funding were not released.

OnRobotVGP20 400x275Denmark-based OnRobot has released its new VGP20 gripper, an electric vacuum gripper that can handle payloads up to 20 kg (44.09 lbs), and compatible with all leading robot brands. The new gripper supports applications that range from cosmetics, electronics, to pharmaceuticals and food and beverage, among others.