RoBUTCHER â€“ A Robust, Flexible and Scalable Cognitive Robotics Platform (RoBUTCHER)
Project code: MRI-FL-08-522-1070 RoBUTCHER
Contract period: 01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022
Purpose of research: Applied research
Uptake of advanced robotics and automation in the Agri-Food sector, specifically in meat processing, has been stifled due to the perceived high cost as well as the lack of flexibility, robustness and scalability to suit different volumes, smaller in particular. This conflicts with recommendations that governments across Europe should encourage greater food system efficiency and security. Pioneers in Norway (NMBU/Animalia) and Denmark (DTI) have addressed this issue and have created a new automation concept for the meat sector: Meat Factory Cell (MFC). The MFC today is simple, relying upon the intelligence of human experts to complete complex tasks. However, meat processing plants are amongst the lowest quality working environments in Europe, making autonomy a must. RoBUTCHER aims to develop a cognitive MFC, capable of autonomy. To achieve this, RoBUTCHER has the following underpinning objectives: (1) Assessment of social, legislative and best practise meat industry requirements; (2) Development of novel technology modules for autonomous cutting trajectory planning, and integration with cooperative human–robot interfaces; (3) Creation of enabling intelligent tools to evaluate the system, chiefly for cutting and handling; (4) Industrial scale pilot of the cognitive MFC. Core robotic technologies are integral to RoBUTCHER, where the main emphasis is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cognition, but natural overlap exists to include Cooperative Human-Robot Interfaces and Cognitive Mechatronics. The Institute of Safety and Quality of Meat (MRI, Kulmbach) is responsible for testing the efficiency of the developed prototype systems integrated as an automated and autonomous Meat Factory Cell (MFC) at pilot scale under different scenarios. The performances should be validated regarding yield, hygiene and meat quality traits (e.g. color, tenderness) comparing the MFC process with the traditional process.Since the MFC will be installed in our slaughter facilities, MRI (Kulmbach) will also conduct demonstration activities of the technology for project partners, end users and meat industry associations.