Lands Work, a manufacturer of tofu-making machinery, has developed a robot that can pick up very soft foods such as tofu.
“First, the robot checks which way the tofu is facing, and how big it is, using a camera. The images are analyzed by a computer, and the robot works out which way to orient the tofu. Once it picks the tofu up, it then puts it in a package. A feature of this robot is the hand, which can gently carry very soft, fragile things without damaging them. This hand uses a special surface processing, which was developed by our company.”
“If tofu is carried quickly, it breaks. So, the robot moves tofu quite slowly, shifting only 1,200 to 1,500 pieces per hour. But firmer items, such as fried tofu, can be carried at a rate of 2,500 per hour.”
“We are using mainly firm tofu in our demonstration but it can also handle soft tofu. We’ve also included some soft tofu here, so this system can even handle delicate things like that.”
“We’ve only just developed this system. People have asked about using it for seafood, eggs, and meat, and we think it could be used for all kinds of foods. The robot itself is a very general-purpose model. So, for example, if we reduce production volume on one line, we could use the robot on another line, just by changing its program. That’s the best thing about using robots.”