Meat+Poultry - July 2018 - 64
T E C H N O L O G I C A L I N N O VAT I O N S
to do all the
can sit there
and assist the
robot in doing
- SEAN THOMAS
After the robot secured the front half,
it moved it into view of the 3D sensors to
determine its orientation and then it was
placed on the cone. The robot then waited for
another carcass to come down the chute. Since
the robot uses two arms, one arm can start
grabbing another poultry item after the other
arm is out of the way.
If the robot fails in picking up the front half,
a human operator will assist. From the initial
tests in 2017, the Baxter robot had a 90 percent
success rate at grabbing and placing the front
half on a cone.
With new areas of testing, Harbert
understood the importance of having a Baxter
experimental robot that could be manipulated
to perform a specific task before picking up
"It's more bare bones because it lets you
control everything on the robot almost, but
you end up having to write a lot of the control
software," he says.
Thomas explains that using the correct
robot did make for clear results on the project.
"It's pretty adaptable on its own. It's not like
we have to program it to cut a specific bird,"
Thomas says. "It's sort of self-training based on
the software developed."
Thomas and Harbert see substantial
progress in the research side, but for this
technology to move forward, it would have to
be applied to different robots and modified to
operate in harsh plant environments.
"The Baxter is a great tool to test out our
algorithms and coming up with the modules
that would go into the system, but the Baxter
itself is probably not the right robot to go into
a processing plant," Harbert says. "It's a little
bit slower than some other robots and we're
working as much as we can to make it go as
fast as it can go. It's not really meant for the
washdown environment of a poultry plant.
Usually, at the end of the second shift, they
hose down everything with a caustic cleaning
solution and high-pressure water and the Baxter
would have some problems with that."
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MEAT+ POULTRY | 07.18 | www.meatpoultry.com