Cobots handle delicate agricultural products – independently and alongside other robots



Farming is no stranger to automation, but many agriculture-related jobs demand a soft touch to handle delicate fresh foods, or require robots to work closely alongside humans and animals.

At Orkla Foods in Sweden, a UR cobot works independently to pack vanilla cream bags into cartons but is also part of a network that includes a carton erector, a carton sealer, and a filling machine. “An important requirement was that the robot had to work flawlessly so that we would not need supervision or extra support for it to work. It would also be a major advantage if it did not require safety guarding around it and could work safely alongside our employees,” says Johan Linné, site manager at Orkla Food. The payback period for the UR10 robot installed at Orkla was only six months.

Similarly, Cascina Italia processes millions of eggs per day using a UR5 robot to improve flexibility and operational efficiency. The cobot relieves employees from the strenuous process of preparing bulky packages for large-scale distribution, but its fenceless operation allows the robot to work side-by-side with employees on the production lines. The company sorts four sizes of eggs based on weight to produce more than 220 commercial options in different formats, depending on the type of packaging required.

“We are convinced that the collaborative robot solution is extremely useful for facilities like ours that have constraints on flexibility, available space and budgets for investment, which make traditional robotic solutions difficult to implement,” says Ruggero Moretti, facility manager of Cascina Italia. “The results obtained so far are excellent, so much so that we expect return on our initial investment in less than a year, with the additional advantage of having further refined and improved the quality of our packaging processes.”

Collaborative robots are ideal for hygienic food processing environments, can operate around the clock during seasonal periods of high production, and can be easily redeployed to new applications as needed.

Find out more information on SCOTT’s Collaborative Robot range from Universal Robots