Coca-Cola Singapore And A*STAR Debut New Robotic Solution, Scaling Automation Efforts Across Its Manufacturing Plant

Coca-Cola Singapore ASTAR Debut New Robotic Solution
Coca-Cola Singapore and A*STAR launched a collaborative robot solution to automate Coca-Cola's packing lines for its bags of powdered ingredients.

SINGAPORE – Coca-Cola Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have launched a new robotic solution, designed to automate assembly and packing lines at the beverage company's manufacturing plant in Singapore.

Developed in conjunction with A*STAR's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), the new, customised collaborative robot ('cobot') solution automates Coca-Cola's packing lines for its bags of powdered ingredients, which significantly reduces manual labor, improves productivity, and allows Coca-Cola's production technicians to take on higher value-added skills.

This solution was developed as part of Coca-Cola Singapore's digital transformation strategy, which will continue to leverage new and digital technologies such as advanced AI-based robotics, data analytics, and the Internet of Things to improve its operation processes and supply chain management.

A*STAR's ARTC worked with Coca-Cola and local SME Kowa Skymech Pte Ltd (Kowa Skymech), a systems integrator, to integrate this cobot solution into the manufacturing plant's existing line.

"At Coca-Cola Singapore, we are constantly innovating and leveraging new technologies to revolutionise our operation processes at our plant. We believe technological innovations such as our latest cobot solution will enhance productivity, increase capacity for further growth, and upskill our employees," said Gerardo Artavia, Plant General Manager, Coca-Cola Singapore.

"Our long-term partnership with A*STAR's Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) as a Tier 1 industry member, has enabled Coca-Cola Singapore to tap on the local research centre's vast resources and solutions in latest digitalisation initiatives, technologies, and their applications. We hope to continue our collaboration with ARTC to accelerate our transformation journey and support Singapore's growth strategies to drive advanced manufacturing efforts."

"We are excited to deploy another innovative solution with Coca-Cola Singapore, as part of our long-term partnership to enable the continuous automation of processes in its manufacturing plant. Through our vibrant industrial consortium, the co-innovation between Coca-Cola Singapore, ARTC and local SME Kowa Skymech has accelerated the industrialisation of this solution at Coca-Cola Singapore to automate their operations. We look forward to more of such ecosystem collaborations, to co- innovate and co-deploy advanced manufacturing solutions, and help our local SMEs to pivot and form win-win partnerships," said Dr David Low, CEO, ARTC, A*STAR.

A*STAR's ARTC accelerates the translation of research into industrial applications through public-private partnerships. Its industry consortium comprises more than 90 members ranging from global multinational corporations (MNCs), public agencies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to startups, such as Coca-Cola Singapore and Kowa Skymech, who can come together to co-develop and co-deploy advanced manufacturing solutions.

Features of the cobot solution

  • Smart vision detection system – The cobot solution features a smart vision detection system developed by ARTC, which can identify and locate powder bags of various sizes before picking them up and placing them in carton boxes. To improve recognition of the white and transparent bags used by Coca-Cola, which are hard to detect due to the lack of distinctive features and contrast with their surroundings, ARTC developed advanced algorithms with the ability to detect subtle features, to enable the system to better identify such bags.
  • Expandable end-of-arm tool – An expandable end-of-arm tool by RoPlus, a National University of Singapore (NUS) spin-off from the National Robotics Programme (NRP), has also been integrated into the system. It can adjust its grip according to the size of each powder bag, without the need for production technicians to manually change the grip and set-up of the robot arms, saving time and effort for the production technicians. This adds flexibility to the system and offers scalability to global sites.

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About Coca-Cola in Singapore

The Coca-Cola system manufactures, markets, and distributes more than 40 different beverages options in Singapore, of which over 85 percent are lower or no sugar options to help people in Singapore enjoy the great tastes they know and love while managing their sugar intake. In addition to our namesake Coca-Cola drinks, some of our leading brands in Singapore include Fanta, Sprite, Authentic Tea House, Heaven and Earth, A&W, Schweppes, Minute Maid, Georgia, Dasani, glacéau vitaminwater. Coca-Cola has been refreshing Singapore for over 80 years and is committed to making a lasting, positive difference in the local community. For more information about Coca-Cola Singapore, visit: www.coca-cola.com.sg.

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR's R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis.