UK processors failing to tap automation potential
The food industry in the UK is failing to exploit the potential of
automation and robotics to achieve cost reductions and production efficiencies,
according to a major survey.
The 'Appetite for Automation' survey reveals the 'untapped potential' of
automation for food manufacturers.
The survey set out to explore why
- despite being the UK's largest manufacturing sector - the UK food industry
invests comparatively little in automation compared to its counterparts in other
industries. More than 400 senior industry engineers and decision makers were
invited to participate in qualitative interviews.
Most of the senior
engineering personnel in UK food companies interviewed believe that market
pressures will prompt the industry to turn more to automation within the next
five years or so.
The survey concludes that many manufacturers would
benefit from greater knowledge of the potential applications and wider
commercial benefits of automation.
"There are clearly some real
opportunities for those companies with vision to get ahead and steal competitive
advantage," says David Bradford, managing director of RTS Flexible Systems,
which sponsored the survey.
A key outcome of the survey has been the
suggestion that the industry could benefit by developing new methodologies for
justifying Return on Investment in automation projects to take account of their
full commercial impact.
'Appetite for Automation' was conducted in
association with The British Automation and Robotics Association, Food
Processing Faraday Partnership and the North West Food
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