Robotics and Automation


Robotic Flexible Food Manufacturing System (RFFMS). Innovate UK funded under the "Materials & Manufacturing" Competition 2017 – 2019.

Over the course of this project, NCFM and the Engineering School will work together with Industrial partners, OAL, plus selected industry end users, to develop a robotic flexible food manufacturing system for liquid based products covering large, medium and small scale volume manufacturing. The system will also be designed to process powder based food products and will be able to be applied to other food and non-food industries.

A key aspect of the initiative is that the large and complex food manufacturing sector needs a game changing innovative reinvention of the approach to its manufacturing processes, unlocking improved value, quality and sustainability in the sector. This research & development will address significant robotic control and technical process challenges, and in achieving this the production system developed will have high impact and major commercial value in both its flexible “bespoke” physical structure and just as vital, its underpinning digital technologies (which will unlock further robotics and automation approaches across the food manufacturing sector and also cut across many other industry sectors).

University of Lincoln Schools and staff involved in research:

NCFMMark Swainson, Dr Keith Brewood

School of Engineering
Dr Andrea Paoli



Automated Robotic Food Manufacturing System (ARFMS). EPSRC & Innovate UK funded under the “Robotics & Autonomous Systems” Competition 2017-2018.

This award will support the development and application of Robotics & Automation technologies in the Food Manufacturing sector. With the help of this grant, OAL, and the University of Lincoln will design and develop technically difficult and innovative robotics control and materials handling systems.

It will incorporate the development of a semi-autonomous system that combines state-of-the-art cooking and materials handling technologies with automated robotic ingredient loading, utilising smaller 750Kg vessels. The integrated system will produce higher quality food with unprecedented flexibility, more consistently and faster with greatly reduced ingredient wastage and energy costs, whilst taking up to 50% less factory space. The system will be located and tested in the dedicated food processing hall at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing.

University of Lincoln Schools and staff involved in research:

NCFM – Mark Swainson

School of Engineering – Dr Andrea Paoli


National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach Campus, Park Road, Holbeach, Spalding, PE12 7PT
email: ncfm@lincoln.ac.uk
tel: + 44 (0)1406 493000
fax: + 44 (0)1406 493030