Virtual winner for food and drink industry

UK-based food robotics and automation centre CenFRA has launched new computer simulation technologies that will enable businesses to evaluate and quantify the benefits and implications of integrating different automation techniques into new or existing production lines on a ‘virtual’ scale, without disruption to current manufacturing operations.

CenFRA says one northern-based food giant has already taken advantage of the simulation techniques, resulting in impressive financial savings and practical paybacks.

CenFRA was originally approached by the food producer for advice on how to assimilate new automation and robotic solutions into existing production lines at one of its major manufacturing sites.

With the help of the new simulation software package, CenFRA’s team of specialist engineers was able to create an interactive 3D computer model of the factory layout that included technical details on the existing production equipment. Using this virtual representation they could then advise on the best automation solutions, while simultaneously identifying any unforeseen obstacles and highlighting potential areas for improvement.

This simulation technique helps to recognise how different process changes would affect particular factory areas and provides accurate and reliable virtual models according to the food manufacturer’s existing production set up or intended future arrangements, without the need for expensive physical mock-ups.

Discrete event computer simulation produces virtual replicas of factory floor space and allows food and drink manufacturers to examine how the proposed integration of automation systems will work in reality.

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