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UK: Minister launches robotics and automation pilot project

Robotics and automation in the agri-food industry could improve productivity, reduce waste, maximize safety and lower costs, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has said. He made the remarks as he launched a research and development project between CAFRE and the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to investigate the opportunities for robotics and automation in the NI Agri-food industry.

Launching the scheme, Minister Poots said: “Embedding robotics and automation into our food manufacturing and packaging processes brings so many advantages from increased precision, improved safety, reducing costs, minimizing waste and maximizing productivity. I am therefore pleased to launch a collaborative project between CAFRE and the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) at Queen’s University Belfast which aims to explore how our largest manufacturing sector can make the most of robotics and automation in their production lines."

“Importantly, the project will also see robotics and automation embedded into future CAFRE curriculum, ensuring our students are equipped for emerging opportunities in this area."

The Minister concluded:  “The last 100 years has seen technology advance at an incredible rate. In this centenary year for Northern Ireland, I am encouraged to see the local sector preparing for the next 100 years through this exciting development.”

“At Queen’s, we are focused on seizing opportunities where Northern Ireland has international strength and capability. Working closely with industry, we hope that our cutting-edge research and expertise robotics, automation and manufacturing will help transform food manufacturing and packaging processes and allow local companies to deliver growth and scale up.”

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