We've asked our GreenTech exhibiting companies to answer questions on how the current Coronavirus pandemic had impacted their business.
About One of A Kind Technologies
One of A Kind Technologies is a specialist in computer vision and robotics. Our solutions ensure quality, efficient processing of products and associated packaging and ensure traceability within the food, pharmaceutical, and horticultural sectors. Our technology is focused on quality inspection and efficient processing of products and packaging through automation based on Vision & Robotics. Leading brands within our group: Beltech, Smart Vision Center, Crux Agribotics, Vimec Applied Vision Technology, and KOAT. With more than 130 engineers and technicians, we are active worldwide as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and turn-key development partner. The company has developed a broad portfolio of IP and technology within the group for more than 33 years. Through partnerships with specialist OEM manufacturers around the world, our technology has been integrated into complete production assembly and processing lines within various industries and applications.
What should the industry do differently from now on?
When this is behind us, or for the leading parties when they have gone through the worst and again have found the peace of mind to evaluate and to look forward, we should define and realize greenhouses, packing centers, and food production processes that are resilient from future viruses and global threats like these based on a higher level of automation and robotisation. The dependency on human labour, which is already becoming increasingly scarce, costly, and hard to control in a consistent way of handling, is not a sustainable model for the future and the expected future food needed around the globe.
How could robotics/automation support human workers during a crisis such as this?
The immediate problem at hand is too big to address instantly with robotics as also the robotics parties (like us) are affected by travel bans etc. The common and traditional automation technology for harvest processing, sorting and packing, buffering, and so on, (like we supply with our KOAT brand) remain available. For the future more advanced automation can minimize the dependency on human labour to a level that is acceptable and manageable, like our SortiPack Robots for automated grading, sorting and packing, and the Sheff Foodpick robot that randomly places products in packages.
How do you expect this current crisis will change your sector for the long term?
Hopefully, the Food Produce sector will manage to get through this crisis short term with not too many companies suffering damages beyond repair. Ultimately, for the longer term, we think this crisis might be a catalyst for the design and equipment of greenhouses and packing centers that are future proof and more resilient for future viruses and global threats like these by deploying higher grades of automation and robotisation making the operations less vulnerable and dependent on the availability of human labor (only).