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You’ve probably heard about AI within the agricultural field. Many agricultural farms and companies are incorporating it to help manage their crops and delivery. They can produce more crops, lower the amount of waste and damaged produce, and increase efficiency in the delivery. Of course, industries like healthcare, retail, cosmetics, and transportation are also using it more and more to help with various sectors. The industry that isn’t known for using it is food processing plants.

15% of manufacturing plant shipments comes from food processing plants. This type of industry manufacturers a massive amount of food but the margins are not that high. More food processing companies are realizing the value of embedding AI into their software. Even if a little increase in efficiency can help increase their margins, it’s completely worth it.

The Benefits

It’s no surprise that speed and efficiency are the largest advantages of AI being used no matter what industry it is. However, with both of those, the most important aspect for any company is lowering costs and bringing in more revenue. The way food has been processed and transported is becoming less and less viable. With increases in overhead costs and transportation issues that are hard to foresee there is no wonder why people are looking to something new.

We’ve seen a lot about Artificial Intelligence and how it can help improve supply chain management. How to properly route which items to which vehicles and the routes they take help to maximize efficiency and lower the number of mistakes. That is key and AI is helping with that.

When it comes to food processing plants it’s all about how to process food faster, better, and be able to throw in changes that don’t cost too much. The algorithms that AI produces can provide various options for these plants based on their continuous learning. Those options would be ways that the plant can make changes and adjustments to production. Rather than trying to determine this the traditional way which includes a lot of time and labor, AI can do it instantly and in real-time. The more you use AI, the better it gets and is always evolving to make improvements.

What it Can be Used for

To become more efficient, there are multiple sectors within the manufacturing process that can be changed. The way products are sorted and separated, packages are packed and sorted, cleaning and equipment maintenance, food safety, and even marketing tactics. To be able to produce such a high volume of food, everything has to be in order. There is a lot that has to go into creating that final product which includes making sure all stock is placed, that everything is clean, the food is inspected and approved. The entire plant has to be maintained and pass a certain level of safety and cleanliness.

Problem Solving

Many manufacturers have issues with food that is different sizes. You are producing many different things and to sort all the different products can be tricky. It is not always perfect and takes time to fix issues. This issue has been well taken care of with the use of sophisticated AI technology versus human laborers. This technology has made things automatic and increased the time it takes to sort everything.

This type of AI goes a step further by figuring out how best to use certain items. If a company produces apple products like whole apps, apple juice, and apple chips the AI can determine which apples will work best for each. Instead of disposing of funky apps that are maybe too small or shaped funny they can be used to make apple juice or even apple chips.

It not only makes the production lines more efficient and saves money but it also produces a lot less food waste. For 1 single plant it may not seem like a lot but when you do this across many plants were talking millions of tonnes of food that is being saved. This is especially useful when certain resources are scarce.

Keeping it Clean

For food processing plants the cost of cleaning all the equipment is pretty expensive due to the time it takes to clean, the machine downtime, and the amount of water being used. However, this is something that every plant must do properly in order to continue operating. With the use of various sensors, food processing plants can have the machines cleaned faster and reduce the amount of water used. This would lead to lower production downtime and cost and would increase the revenue.

It can be difficult to see and catch any safety issues happening. Whether it is personnel not wearing the correct gear to handle the food or a foreign object that’s made its way into the plant, this can be solved better with AI. Using various facial recognition type algorithms it can detect these issues in real-time to send a notification of the fix. Having someone looking at cameras later to determine what issues may have happened isn’t the best way of fixing these food safety issues. With this type of technology, it will catch a much higher percentage a lot faster so that the problem can be corrected right away.

Consumer Demands

Many companies come up with new things to roll out to customers. Sometimes it’s popular and sometimes it’s not. It is always a gamble when it comes to what consumers might like. There are AI technologies that can help companies determine what product to make next based on consumer patterns. It can almost predict the future, making a product less likely to fail.

You can allow consumers to create their own version of your product. Let them decide what they like. Your AI system can then take all the data within seconds and determine what you should be producing to earn you the highest level of return via customer satisfaction and purchases. To do this, you can incorporate AI into your website so it can see and learn about all your consumer’s habits. This is the ultimate goal.

In the end, it is about providing the consumers the product they want to see and eat. Although it can be difficult to determine exactly what they want all the time, AI can do a pretty good job learning what changes need to be made at what time based on many different inputs. If you want to learn about how you can properly incorporate artificial intelligence into your food processing plants then contact Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or email her at sakshi@sdi.la.

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