Many manufacturers in the Food & Beverage industry have already implemented automation into their operations. As the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to slow industry recovery from labour shortages, manufacturers are now looking to the next generation of automation solutions.
The good news is, there are government programs and subsidies to help businesses like yours fund the R&D required to take advantage of evolving automation technologies.
But first, let’s look at the current state of automation in our industry.
Automation has been key to food and beverage manufacturers since the early days of assembly lines. Today, advances in robotics increase personnel efficiency and overall production speed. Quality control is enhanced through things like machine vision systems, which optically check products for foreign material, read contamination test strips, and can even “see” contaminants that human eyes cannot. And the mechanical automation of traditionally dangerous tasks, such as meat-cutting, greatly improve employee health and safety. As well, advanced systems monitor and optimize energy efficiency, increasing profitability while reducing an operation’s carbon footprint.
But what’s next? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used in everything from increasing the accuracy of food sorting, cleaning, hygiene, and safety on the production line to using predictive analytics to speed the development of new formulations in recipes and flavours and anticipate issues in the supply chain.
However, advances in technology also require people to run and maintain those advanced manufacturing systems. Specialists in robotics, industrial internet of things (IIoT), and other advanced technologies will need to be hired or contracted.
And then there’s the cost of scientific R&D.
To help with these costs, the Government of Canada offers Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits. These include deductions against income as well as investment tax credits (ITCs) for at least 15%—and as much as 35%—of your qualified SR&ED expenditures.
Applying for government incentives can seem like a challenge, but you can also get help with this. Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) provides free assessments for your potential SR&ED tax credits, Grants, or both. EMC partners with experts in the field to understand your unique production needs and strategic initiatives, as well as the programs you could qualify and apply for. You can find out more about
Post-pandemic labour shortages are not likely to ease anytime soon. By investing now in further automation, you can both future-proof your business and take advantage of timely incentives.
Learn more by visiting the Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) online here.