Developing Washable Robots

May 15, 2008
Georgia Tech tests new robot for meat processing applications.

A good bath at the end of a day? Researchers at Georgia Tech's Research Institute (GTRI) have prototyped a washable robot to enable the automation of meat processing. At GTRI's Food Processing Technology Division, research engineer Jonathan Holmes describes the design accomplishment:

"The robot's job is to grasp raw meat products from a conveyor and place them onto foam packaging trays -- one per second. In that cycle time, the robot picks up the product, places it aesthetically on the tray and allows visual inspection -- all without causing damage."

The tough part of the development, Holmes says, was having to go through a lot of component testing initially just to find components they could use.

The prototype uses special protective coatings and plating on metal parts and special watertight bearings that resist the wash-down process. Georgia Tech researchers teamed with CAMotion and Cargill Meat Solutions.

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