ROBOS succeeds localizing automated slaughterhouses

Boasting unique bio-vision and robot convergence tech Introducing nation’s first automation system for slaughterhouses 원헤레나 기자l승인2023.12.15l수정2023.12.15 12:02

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South Korea*s meat consumption has steadily risen. However, butchers are struggling to meet the demand due to outdated facilities and methods. Having observed these shortcomings, a team of ROBOS exerted its utmost effort to bring a solution: the nation*s first automation system for slaughterhouses.

ROBOS CEO Jason Park worked for LG Electronics as a senior researcher and Hyundai Robotics as a chief engineer during which he built extensive knowledge and experience in the fields. One day, while talking with his veterinarian friend, he heard about poor conditions of slaughterhouses that most automation system were imported to be customized which costs butchers dearly for installation, maintenance and dispatch of a repair team in 6 months.

Introducing Korean type slaughterhouse automation

The vision technology that precisely controls the dismantling process of atypical biological objects

ROBOS is the sole Korean company that holds the vision technology that precisely controls the dismantling process of atypical biological objects. By combining living objects visual data and robot technology, ROBOS aims to make application of its unique technology to manufacturing, food and medicine home and abroad.

Led by CEO Park, a team of former LG Electronics and Hyundai Robotics colleagues Hwajin Im, Taeyoung Woo and Duyeol Lee, and veterinarian Wonsuk Park, were united in spirit to push forward development of high performing industrial robots including automated slaughtering. They have designed a 20 axes multiple joints robot alongside software in precision that is ideal for Korean slaughtering environment.

The machine vision combined with AI precisely measures and cuts each part of atypical biological objects. This technology is far advanced than its global competitors.

“Semiconductor or display automation is a process that controls grippers or handling with designated objects. However, slaughter involves handling atypical living organisms and developing a robot that can precisely control the dismantling process of atypical living organisms is such a challenge that we try to achieve” says CEO Park.

 

Pig Belly Opener, Pig Splitter and Neck Cutter

The first neck cutter installed in Jeju Pig Farming Cooperative

The team’s passion and effort was well paid: they succeeded development of Pig Belly Opener, Pig Splitter and Neck Cutter. 

“We first implemented robots for the three key processes of muscle fatigue, process quality, and safety among the 30 or so total slaughter processes. We will have the world’s first full-stack robotics technology with two lineups, ‘Evisceration Robot’ (selected as a Deep Tech Tips project and under development) which is the most difficult to implement with robots, and ‘Anti-Bloodletting Robot’ (jointly developed with Chonnam National University College of Veterinary Medicine)“ says Park.

Among them, the first neck cutter robot, which was developed with an integrated gripper cutter for precise incision, was sold to the Jeju Pig Farmers’ Cooperative Livestock Products Distribution Center and has been slaughtering 2,000 heads daily since July this year. The automated equipment has high precision in carcass cutting, uniform meat cutting quality, and low scatter rate. In addition, it is easy to manage hygiene, which greatly eliminates the problem of disease exposure, and its fast working speed reduces labor costs. The neck cutter robot was validated through the cooperative and proved to be superior to the quality of expensive European slaughter automation equipment. This focused the attention of the domestic slaughter industry, and buyers from Southeast Asia and Europe who observed the slaughter process expressed their intention to purchase the product. ROBOS has signed a contract with Minsok LPC to introduce a livestock automation system and has set up the first PBO robot. In February, the company signed an MOU with the Korea Livestock Processing Association to promote the introduction of domestic slaughter automation robot technology.

“Slaughterhouses across the country are consolidating and becoming larger and more centralized due to severe labor shortages and operational problems. Small and medium-sized slaughterhouses are closing down at a rapid pace, reducing manpowered slaughter production. About 18 million pigs are slaughtered annually in Korea, but the production cannot keep up with consumption, and 30% of the country relies on imported meat. ROBOS’ automated slaughtering system is capable of slaughtering up to 2.5 times the amount of animals that can be slaughtered by humans. Extrapolating the annual slaughter volume, it is possible to meet the domestic pork consumption by deploying our robotic automation solution in about 20 large slaughterhouses across the country“ says Park.

Since its establishment 2022, ROBOS has registered a number of patents for systems and products developed with its own technology. Among them, ‘Slaughter automation robot system’ is a vision system that utilizes vision to perform slaughter and has completed patent registration and is being evaluated as intellectual property.

 

Selected as a ‘Deep Tech-Tips’ by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, received investment for the third consecutive time

Completing process lineup of slaughter automation solutions to go public in 2026

Advanced biometric vision technology to compete in the global market

ROBOS has emerged as a promising startup, attracting KRW 300 million in seed investment from Series Ventures, an accelerator specialized in the Southeast region (Busan, Ulsan, Gyeongnam), even though the company has only been in business for about a year. In recognition of its excellent technology and growth potential, the company attracted seed investment (Post-Value) worth 3.8 billion won, and was selected as a finalist for ‘Deep Tech-Tips’ by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups as part of the Super Gap Startup 1000+ project to receive Pre-A-level investment (up to 1.7 billion won in technology development funds), marking its third consecutive investment attraction in a short period of time. 

Park won the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Award and the Nonghyup Central Chairman Award at the Agri-Food Startup Contest organized by the Korea Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and is participating in the Social Venture School of the 2023 Southeast Region Social Impact Wave Program run by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, the Technology Guarantee Fund, and the Korea Youth Entrepreneurship Foundation with his machine vision slaughter automation robot. 

“ROBOS’ unique slaughter process automation solutions are unmatched and will be a powerful growth engine. We are expanding our team of specialized engineers to complete our full lineup of slaughterhouse automation solutions by 2026, and will continue to advance our biometric vision technology to make K-Technology stand out in the global slaughterhouse automation smart factory market“ says Park.


원헤레나 기자  hywon65@gmail.com
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