Motivo attended back to back AgTech-centric conferences in September. Process EXPO, in Chicago, considers itself the global food equipment & technology showcase for major food and beverage processors, equipment manufacturers and leaders in academia. Pack EXPO, in Las Vegas, serves as North America’s largest packaging equipment & technology showcase.
Labor scarcity is plaguing food growers, processors, and packers nationwide. Food companies attend the shows hoping to find answers to unavailable labor, and instead they’re finding increasingly commoditized OEM hardware solutions, which used to serve as vehicles for innovation in the food industry. Where was the innovation?
Perhaps that’s why Pack EXPO, flush with labor-saving robotic case packing & palletizing demonstrations, was far more alive than Process EXPO, which felt more like a car dealership than a global gathering of innovative solutions and bright minds from industry & academia.
Notably, there is a growing interest in OEM-Motivo collaborations to work on applying bleeding edge automation technologies in robotics, machine vision, and deep learning to help return innovation to an industry starved for it. True innovation will lead to the labor savings so critically necessary to keep our food industry efficient and profitable; 326 million Americans depend on it.
Pack EXPO featured a number of notable technologies that will enable widespread adoption of robotics in the food industry. Codian Robotics IP69K full washdown delta robot, Soft Robotics Inc. IP69K adaptable gripper, and KUKA Robotics KUKAConnect (IIoT) industry 4.0 software. All three of these technologies generated considerable interest from the industry, but not a single one can implement their technology for the end user. Cleverly integrating these latest enabling technologies is reserved for companies like Motivo, and since very few fully integrated product solutions were found on the show floor, Motivo Engineering sees a fantastic opportunity to lead these product development efforts.