Going a step beyond just having a research and development office, Tyson Foods has unveiled and entire facility dedicated to keeping it on the leading edge. The company has created a new state-of-the-art Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center (TMAC) to help it develop more automation and robotics for its food production plants.
“Innovation has been a fundamental part of our success for almost 85 years,” said Noel White, President and CEO. “This facility represents our commitment to creating the next generation of manufacturing solutions through advanced automation, robotics, and machine learning.”
Spanning 26,000-square-feet and standing at two stories tall, the company called the investment part of its focus on continuous improvement, with the new technologies and developments out of TMAC geared toward helping to improve efficiency and workplace safety.
“The creation of the Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center is a key enabler for the company to collaborate and bridge the suppliers in the automation industry with their production facilities,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of the Association for Advancing Automation. “Tyson Foods’ drive to implement robotic and machine vision automation technologies will help them be more competitive on a global scale, provide a safer environment for their team members, and more efficiently provide safe, quality food to people around the world.”
And, according to Doug Foreman, Director, Engineering, the state-of-art capabilities is not the main cornerstone of TMAC.
“The key to TMAC’s success will be the collaboration of world-class talent bringing expertise from all aspects of processing. Their skills and the resources within this facility will allow us to create solutions that will make a difference in the lives of our team members and create value for our business,” Foreman said.
The center is in a building that was previously used to service vehicles for the company’s poultry business, with reclaimed wood from the company’s original headquarters was used in the renovated building. According to a press release, it features four main areas: A machine vision technology lab, a lab that simulates a food production environment, training classrooms and space for team members to train in automation and robotics technology.
Foreman will manage the day-to-day operations of TMAC with assistance from Marty Linn, who spent 34 years at General Motors. 18 of those years he was the Principal Engineer of Robotics and Manager of Advanced Automation. Linn will act as Director of the new manufacturing center.
Officially open in downtown Springdale, Arkansas, the company said it will engage with local schools participating in robotics competitions to further drive awareness and the importance of educational opportunities in areas of science, technology, engineering and math. You can learn more about the town’s involvement, the facility, and additional details in the full release here.
Tyson Foods has invested more than $215 million in automation and robotics in the last five years, and it looks like that is just the beginning. Stay tuned as we follow the company’s latest moves in the latest technologies serving our industry.