The Cheese Derinding Robot

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Sossna's Diary

Are people now surplus to requirement in the dairy industry?

Regular visits to dairy industry suppliers are a key part of my job. Anything that could potentially spark an interest among my readers is also of great interest to me. As a hopeless tech-enthusiast, however, I must confess that my enthusiasm isn’t merely confined to my professional work.

Recently, I found myself on the way to visit Groba, a dairy outfitter based in the Netherlands that specializes in cheese processing machines. These essentially fully automated machines can help with many stages of the process including the removal of the foil in foil ripened cheese, cutting and portioning cheeses into wheels and blocks, and last but not least, the derinding of cheeses.

Sossna in front ot the fully automated derinding machine of Groba.

Sossna in front ot the fully automated derinding machine of Groba.

Their Dutch inventors make great use of robotics in their designs. With the Omega Robo-Derinder, Groba have designed a fully automated derinding machine that works far more precisely than any human ever could, removing cheese rinds within a half-millimeter of accuracy. This remarkable feat of engineering is achieved using both 3D camera technology and complex guidance algorithms.

So far, so good. Although I am fascinated by anything “high-tech”, I do find myself wondering if in 15 years there will be any more need for people in production. We might find that we only really need a supervisor, as everything else is completely automated. There is a lot to suggest that this will be the case. And it’s not just factory workers and factory managers; even translators and journalists like me are being pushed aside by digitalization. What will we do all day if there isn’t any work for us to do?

Who knows! Maybe the very concept of life inherent in our genes will need to be adjusted. Some 20,000 years ago, all we had to do was spend a few hours hunting and gathering, and the rest of the time we could spend relaxing or playing, or perhaps considering how we could make life technologically easier for ourselves. Who can tell what kind of creativity could be unleashed if we didn’t have to spend the whole day apathetically working away like robots?

How about we revisit this issue again in 15 years to compare our experiences and opinions? For now, we can concentrate on attending the upcoming drinktec, despite the fact that Groba, who exclusively manufacture cheese processing equipment, won’t be present.

Roland Sossna

The trained dairy expert, agricultural engineer and freelance journalist Roland Sossna is part of the editorial staff of the trade magazine molkerei-industrie (dairy industry) and IDM International Dairy Magazine. He regularly presents outstanding innovations from the dairy industry on the blog.