Automation allows workers to make better decisions, while improving a factory’s efficiency and offering greater levels of food protection, according to Tetra Pak.
The company provides processing and packaging equipment at the Vietnam Milk Factory near Ho Chi Minh City for Vietnam dairy producer Vinamilk.
The site promotes its ‘advanced’ automation and plant integration, which links more than 240 machines and additional components.
Laurence Mott, vice president technologies and service products, Tetra Pak, told DairyReporter.com choices can be automated, but workers can be given knowledge to make good decisions.
'Someone has to make decisions'
“Some of these decisions will very much depend on the external environment - the conditions of trade and so on," he said. "And there are different functions in the factory which machines – so far - have not been able to do, such as working in quality control labs, testing the quality of the milk, and so on.”
Automation reduces operator error and allows the factory to manage complex operations on a large scale, Mott added.
Data is collected during the production process, and materials and products can be traced throughout the system. This is important for customers concerned about food protection.
Facilities at the Vietnam Milk Factory include automatic packing and palletizers, Laser Guided Vehicles (unmanned transporters which move materials and products around the factory under WiFi instructions) and a smart warehouse which operates without workers.
“There’s always plenty of space for people working in any factory, but what the automation does is make decision making easier, allows you to optimise more, and brings you greater efficiency,” Mott said. “And of course there’s the whole angle of food protection [as provided by automation] gives you assurance.”