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5 Jun 2020


COVID-19 steers food processing industry towards automation; reducing labor intensity and raising food safety standards (Current Issue No.3116)


              The spread of COVID-19 and a labor shortage have pushed the food processing industry, which is extremely labor intensive, to consider increased usage of automation. Apart from lowering production risks that are associated with manual labor, the system plays a part in raising safety standards in food production, especially by achieving high standards of contamination prevention like the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) method to correspond with consumers' higher expectations towards food safety that will likely exist after COVID-19 subsides.

          KResearch views that the successful implementation of automated systems strongly depends on the readiness of the manufacturers. Large manufacturers should raise their production standards by replacing skilled labor with Industrial Robotic Arm (IRA) systems, alongside the use of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems to further improve upon the automated conveyor system. Meanwhile, medium size manufacturers should implement the CNC system in conjunction with skilled labor over certain areas; whereas small manufacturers, which require lower production capacity, may consider only using regular machines.

          ​Additionally, the implementation of automated systems in production processes will play a part in transforming the roles of the workforce, as workers assume the responsibility of monitoring and controlling the system, as well as checking and fixing any issues that may occur during the production process, including system maintenance. Therefore, the development of skilled labor in working with automated systems holds the key to success; especially if integration begins with the educational sector and progresses to actions taken by manufacturers in the industrial sector.