Robotics as key enabler technology in Food Industry 4.0 and beyond

Dele Raheem, Horst Treiblmaier, Wael Mohammed, Borja Ramis Ferrer, Jose L. Martinez Lastra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The challenges that are related to our growing population, climate change, sustainability, lack of human labour in many advanced economies are valid reasons for food industry 4.0 and beyond to adopt innovative robotic applications. In order to promote sustainability in our production and consumption practices, the food industry can be revolutionized with the application of robotics and automation.
The methods of food production and consumption is constantly been modified, they must be tailored to meet customer demands in our digitilized society. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic therefore, makes a strong case for robotic and automation at all stages in food production systems that will ensure food safety and food supply (Henry, 2020). In order to realize this vision, machines, storage systems, and utilities must be able to share information across the food system, as well as act and control each other autonomously (Thoben et al., 2017). Henceforth, this is expected to result in a system where all the processes are fully integrated with equipment and control points (Demartini et al., 2018).
The need for databases to develop deep learning models was highlighted in the works of Wang and co-authors, they advocated for database containing food property information related to robotic handling, such as the properties of viscoelasticity or rheology, friction, geometry, and weight, including new databases for bin-picking scenarios to ensure satisfactory performance (Wang et al., 2022). Currently still in its infancy, we expect that data driven agriculture will mature in the coming decades, shaping the food system of the future (Marvin et al., 2022). An important driver towards sustainable food systems will be the digitalisation of farms and supply chains with robotic technology.
In this chapter, we discuss the transformation that are brought about by robotics in the food industry. In section 2, an insight on farming and manufacturing environments enabled by enablers robotics and drones is highlighted. Section 3 gives an overview of the fourth industrial revolution and its implications in the food industry. The section highlights the collaborative activities of human and robots, the interconnection of cobot, automation and wireless networks towards optimized food production. In section 4, the emergence of internet of things in the food sector is briefly emphasized. Section 5 briefly outlines food processing and handling with the application of Industry 4.0 technologies. Section 6 discusses automation that engage robots and robotic systems in the food industry. Finally, section 7 concludes the chapter with some project examples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Industry 4.0: Emerging Trends and Technologies in Sustainable Food Production and Consumption
EditorsAbdo Hassoun
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISBN (Electronic)9780443155178
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2024
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Food science


Dive into the research topics of 'Robotics as key enabler technology in Food Industry 4.0 and beyond'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Citation for this output