So it turns out that in Walworth Business Park, Andover there is a food packaging centre that is entirely built to suit robots and not humans.
The factory is called the customer fulfilment centre (CFC) and was developed by Ocado’s, the online grocery store, in order to better serve their customers.
The CFC has a choice of over 45 thousand products, and will pack around 3.5 million items and up to 65 thousand orders a week at its full capacity. That is just insane!! The site is around 240 thousand square feet, or just a bit bigger than 7 football pitches.
In essence, the majority of the site is set up in a three dimensional grid, where the robots travel around 4m/s and within 5mm of one another.
On occasions, where the containers are difficult to manipulate, the packaging plant has bespoke robot arms designed by Universal Robots. Interestingly these robots have a 3D imaging camera to aid in the packaging process, which most of us already know as an Xbox Kinect. Hey, why waste technology that is already advanced enough for the job you are doing.
One comment that got us thinking was that this is a full system that relies on all components to operate correctly. Similarly the human bodies antibodies and blood cells aren’t considered to be different parts, but parts of a whole person. So using the same logic, arguably of course, this is one massive robot and not 3000 small robots.
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