Tyson Foods has invested more than $215m in automation and robotics in the last five years. According to the company's FY19 earnings report, capital expenditures for fiscal 2019 will amount to approximately $1.3bn with the bulk of those expenses going towards production growth, infrastructure replacements and upgrades, and operational improvements "that will result in production and labor efficiencies, yield improvements, and sales channel flexibility."
Springdale, Arkansas, where the company employs more than 6,000 people, is a major food production and operations hub for Tyson Foods. Within the past four years, the food company has opened two large-scale facilities in the area.
The two-story, 26,000-square-foot facility (called the 'Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center'), which was previously used to service vehicles for Tyson Foods' poultry business, features four main areas: A machine vision technology lab, a lab that simulates a food production environment, training classrooms and space for team members to train in automation and robotics technology.
“This facility represents our commitment to creating the next generation of manufacturing solutions through advanced automation, robotics and machine learning,” said Noel White, president and CEO, Tyson Foods, in statement.
“The creation of the Tyson Manufacturing Automation Center is a key enabler for the company to collaborate and bridge the suppliers in the automation industry with their production facilities,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, a global organization collaborating with Tyson Foods on the project.
“Tyson Foods’ drive to implement robotic and machine vision automation technologies will help them be more competitive on a global scale, provide a safer environment for their team members, and more efficiently provide safe, quality food to people around the world,” added Burnstein.