A glimpse at food assembly lines at Fooma Japan 2010
The International Food Machinery and Technology Exhibition (or Fooma for short) took place last week at Tokyo Big Sight, where a number of companies were demonstrating more efficient ways of producing food. Regrettably, not all of them allowed for photography or video. But for anyone involved in food production, Fooma is definitely a worthwhile exhibition to visit if you can make the trip to Tokyo.
Here are just a couple of the food production devices from Fooma 2010 that we found particularly eye-catching...
World's smallest dumpling-making machine
Created by TOA Industry Co. Ltd., this device is simple, but very clever. Chinese dumplings ('jiaozi' in Chinese, 'gyoza' in Japanese) are famously difficult to make by hand, so this company has developed a few variations of gyoza machines that ease the process. There is a large-scale fully automated version, and a compact gyoza machine that's perfect for small stores or restaurants. TOA claims that this latter model is the world's smallest.
Robotic pickers by Sanmei and Nikko
There were a few assembly line robotic arms on display at Fooma, some of the most notable being those by Sanmei and Nikko. Sanmei specializes in building robots for various purposes, but here they displayed a picker robot that could pick items from a conveyor belt and move them on to another adjacent belt.
Nikko, however, took this to a new level with their robotic picking arm. Named the Flex Picker, it could identify and sort items on a conveyor belt based on shape and color using an affixed camera. It can even pick out rejects and take them off the line!
To see some video footage of both the gyoza machine and the robotic picking arms, have a look at the short video below from the Fooma 2010 exhibition.