To say that COVID-19 has put stress on the food supply chain would be a bit of an understatement, and the meatpacking industry has experienced those challenges in a multitude of ways. As leaders in the category step up to meet the hurdles with safety measures, labor has become another aspect of the changing landscape and one that Tyson Foods is addressing, according to Washington Street Journal.
With a longer-term solution posing the problem of the day, Tyson’s engineers and scientists are delving into robotics as a game-changer.
Automation “is something we think is going to be revolutionary for our business,” said Doug Foreman, Tyson’s Director of Manufacturing Technology, in the WSJ article. “We are on the cusp of a significant rollout."
Foreman has designed meat-cutting equipment for decades, and we imagine the expert looking deeply into the void created by labor during the COVID-19 pandemic continues on. But, where there are challenges, there are those that will step up with innovative solutions.
Tyson’s team has its sights set on developing an automated deboning system destined to address approximately 39 million chickens each week in Tyson’s plant operations.
As the source noted, inside Tyson’s Arkansas robotics lab in early 2020, a robot with a mechanical arm mounted inside a glass box dumped three cups of multicolored beads onto a tray, then grabbed each one and sorted them by color in less than 30 seconds with the push of a button. Making strides? I say, yes.
The Tyson goal is to teach machines to recognize and adapt to different elements like meat coloration and shape, which could help them more effectively add value to the overall program.
What’s next for Tyson? Only time will tell, and we will also, so keeping checking back with Deli Market News on more from the food industry and beyond.