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AgriFoRwArdS Attends IFE Manufacturing

Written by Yi Zhang

With the generous support from the AgriFoRwArdS CDT, we had the opportunity to participate in one of the largest food exhibitions, IFE Manufacturing. The exhibition provides an ideal environment for product developers, packaging designers, ingredient buyers, and food manufacturers to explore the latest trends and discover transformative solutions and products. The event stands as one of the largest gatherings in the food and beverage industry, attracting exhibitors and attendees from around the world. This year’s event took place at Excel London from March 25-27, spanning three days from Monday to Wednesday, and welcomed an incredible number of visitors, with 27,000 attendees from 102 countries.

The AgriFoRwArdS/University of Cambridge stand was positioned in the Trends and Innovation Platform of the exhibition, showcasing the latest agri-food technology to exhibitors. The stand was managed by Narges Khadem Hosseini, Cambridge CDT Principal Technician, along with Yi Zhang, AgriFoRwArdS CDT PhD Student, Fumiya Iida, AgriFoRwArdS CDT Deputy Director, and Fulvio Forni, AgriFoRwArdS CDT Co-Investigator, Veronica Egorova, AgriFoRwArdS CDT Administrator, and Yuki Nakagawa, from RT- Corporation.

It was a fantastic opportunity for AgriFoRwArdS CDT members to showcase their current projects, regardless of their stage of development. Leveraging this platform, they could demonstrate and discuss the automation levels of their projects, which garnered positive feedback from visitors. Our stand, featuring robotic/automation processes, stood out among others and successfully attracted attention. We even had the privilege of being interviewed by reporters, and several reporters captured videos of our stand.

During the exhibition, we had fruitful discussions with investors and food manufacturers who expressed interest in collaborating on automation processes, not only in the UK but also internationally, including Africa and Asia. It was enlightening to understand the challenges and obstacles faced by food manufacturers and their enthusiasm for accelerating production processes, especially concerning low-profile tasks for pick and place and replacing human labour with robots. Additionally, we had the honour of meeting Dr. Bola Olabisi, CEO of Global WIIN and director of Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN). This networking opportunity allowed us to connect with successful women in business and learn about their efforts to support women in developing their ideas and advancing in their careers.

The AgriFoRwArdS/University of Cambridge stand featured three robotic arms for food handling and control. The main purpose was to showcase the capabilities of CDT students in controlling robots, programming, and enhancing robot safety for pick and place tasks in the agri-food industry. A large TV displayed videos of the AgriFoRwArdS CDT Student’s current projects, such as Will Rohde’s project supported by G’s Growers, which garnered significant attention, especially the segments featuring the Thorvald robot moving in greenhouses and scanning strawberries.

This successful event has paved the way for establishing new partnerships with potential industrial partners and provided excellent networking opportunities with individuals interested in robotics.

Published inEventsNewsOutreach & Dissemination

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