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News > DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA launches Robotics and Automation Pilot Project at CAFRE


DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA launches Robotics and Automation Pilot Project at CAFRE

July 1, 2021

Robotics and automation in the agri-food industry could improve productivity, reduce waste, maximise safety and lower costs – Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has said.

The Minister made the remarks as he launched a research and development project between CAFRE and the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at QUB to investigate the opportunities for robotics and automation in the NI Agri-food Industry

Launching the scheme, Minister Poots said: “Robotics and automation have progressed at a lightning speed in the last few decades and that momentum is sure to continue. Embedding robotics and automation into our food manufacturing and packaging processes brings so many advantages from increased precision, improved safety, reducing costs, minimising waste and maximising productivity.

“I am therefore pleased to launch a collaborative project between CAFRE, the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) which aims to explore how our largest manufacturing sector can make the most robotics and automation in their production lines.

The project will use virtual modelling of food production processes in real time and help to raise awareness of this technology across the industry. The project will be based at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus and will draw on the expertise of NITC’s work with other manufacturing sectors.

“Importantly, the project will also see robotics and automation embedded into future CAFRE curricula, ensuring are 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.”