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Hyundai Robotics to automate fast-food production for KFC

Hyundai Robotics is entering the food technology market in cooperation with the global chicken franchise, KFC.

Hyundai Robotics has signed an agreement outlining “research and co-operation in automated production manufacturing” with KFC at the restaurant chain’s Eungam restaurant in Seoul, South Korea.

Hyundai Robotics’ COO Seo Yoo Seong and KFC Korea’s CEO Eom Ik-soo attended the signing ceremony.

Through this agreement, the two companies have decided to jointly conduct:

  • research and development on automated chicken production using collaborative robots; and
  • development of process arrangements and cooking equipment to enhance cooking efficiency.

Under this cooperative arrangement, Hyundai Robotics will be in charge of designing efficient cooking processes and standardizing operational procedures, while KFC will provide the manufacturing expertise and sales facilities, as well as develop cooking equipment.

In particular, Hyundai Robotics plans to use vision sensing – camera angle data analysis – technology to automate the process of sorting chicken products, and gradually expand the application of related technologies to the manufacturing process, such as inserting mobile robots that can move freely, instead of collaborative robots, into narrow spaces.

Through the agreement, the companies expect to place collaborative robots in the chicken production process where risk is high and tasks are repetitive, and thereby enhance its stability and efficiency.

Moreover, by adopting robotics into the cooking process, orders can be processed faster and more accurately, which is expected to increase customer satisfaction as well.

Hyundai Robotics has used its experience in smart factories, where robots manufacture other robots, to expand its operations into the “food-tech market”.

Food-tech is the application of cutting-edge technology into the food industry, and it has been receiving more and more attention since the onset of Covid-19.

According to the global market research firm, Research and Markets, the worldwide food-tech market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.8 percent and reach a scale of around $250 billion by 2022.

Seo Yoo Seong, Hyundai Robotics COO, says: “Covid-19 has brought us this new opportunity called ‘food-tech’ due to the shifting of consumption patterns.

“We will use this cooperation to develop and apply robotics technology and expand into new industries.”

Hyundai Robotics, spun off from Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings last May and launched as an independent corporation, is Korea’s top industrial robotics company.

The company continues to develop its competitiveness in future technologies, such as artificial intelligence and ICT, through business cooperation, such as the successful attraction of a 50-billion-KRW investment from KT last June.

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