Traditional case packing machines tend to be expensive and often limited to a small range of products. Robots offer a much more flexible solution but these can too be an expensive and often low-speed solution. The Centre developed a low cost gravity-fed packing machine, which could be adjusted to place both boxed and bagged products into cardboard cases.
The Centre was also approached by a company who wanted to explore using robots to place the lids on strawberry punnets. Whilst this was demonstrated, the Research Centre showed that a low cost dedicated piece of automation could provide far superior performance at a fraction of the cost. A proof of concept demonstrator was able to achieve 100 punnets per minute, matching the speed of five human workers.