Machines cannot compare with human skills in meat processing, but the coronavirus forced Tyson’s hand.
Covid outbreaks in processing forced Tyson to turn to Butcher Robot,
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in April and May, more than 17,300 meat and poultry processing workers in 29 states were infected and 91 died. The closure of the plant led to a decrease in the production of beef and pork in the United States by more than a third in late April.
The outbreak forced Tyson to try something new, despite the fact that the machines can not notice the differences in shape or color.
Dimensions are not the same as with a car.
An experienced lumbar promoter can cut out a piece of meat, such as filet mignon, without leaving too many slices on the bone that need to be turned into less valuable foods, such as finely textured beef, inexpensive trim used in hamburger meat, or dog food. According to Mark Lauritsen, international vice president of the United Food and Trade Union, which represents the interests of many meat packing workers. For meat companies, this is the difference between selling bulk meat at $ 5 a pound and 19 cents a pound, he said. “Work is still cheaper, and people can do this skilled work much better than machines,” he said.
At Tyson, the team includes designers who once worked in the automotive industry. Now they are developing an automated deboning system.
Tyson employs 122,000 people. When the best robots appear, many of these workers will lose their jobs.
Meat processing against other industries
Automation was slow because the workforce is cheap, although it requires skills that machines cannot easily perform.
But over time, cars will become smarter and faster. Communities dependent on these jobs will be clogged.
This is an interesting story from many angles, but no doubt Covid will accelerate robotics in the meat processing industry.