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Mobile Cobots 4 Flexible Food Production 2.0

Monotonous and heavy work in the bakery makes it increasingly difficult to find employees. But traditional automation is too costly and inflexible when production only runs for a few hours a day. This project aims to overcome the challenge by installing mobile cobots in Marien bakery that can perform a range of tasks at various workstations. Brood bakkerij oven

The Partners: 

Family-owned Mariën Bakery Products produces various types of bread and bakery products in all shapes and sizes, with their vision being to make people happy with their traditional and artisanal products. Van Wees Waalwijk is known for its specific machinery and services in various sectors. They have significant expertise and experience in automating bakery processes. They previously developed a concept involving the integration of mobile cobots into a production line in a previous project, S3FOOD.

Project Objective

The often monotonous and physically demanding work in the bakery sector makes it difficult to find suitable personnel. Moreover, small, unique batches are often produced, requiring workers to move between different workstations throughout the day. As a result, standard automation solutions are often too expensive and not flexible enough. This project aims to implement movable collaborative robots, or "cobots," capable of performing specific tasks at different workstations. Additionally, the project seeks to integrate sensors into the cobots to monitor and optimize the production process.

Project Approach

The concept of mobile cobots is already available, but Van Wees Waalwijk will initially focus on developing the integration of various sensors into these cobots. This includes monitoring temperature using infrared sensors to verify whether dough has risen sufficiently. Subsequently, the cobots will be adapted to specific workstations at Mariën Bakery Products, such as spraying egg yolk on sandwiches, dosing cream filling, slicing bread, and stacking products on pallets. In a second phase, data exchange will be set up between the cobots’ sensors and the bakery’s ERP system. The system will be further updated and the continuous data exchange will lead to a better production planning and the reduction of food waste.