12 California Food Producer EDITION 2, 2017 Traditionally, the convergence of robotics and food processing, especially in cases of direct food contact, has been problematic. “You’re dealing with joints and actuators, and things that are dynamically moving,” says Schweitzer. “Not a very easy piece of machinery to design as sanitary. You have all of these cracks and crevices where bacteria and other microorganisms can harbor.” According to Schweitzer, a product contact surface is defined as all surfaces which are exposed to the product and from which splashed product, liquids or soil may drain, drop, diffuse or be drawn into the product or onto surfaces that come into contact with product contact surfaces of packaging materials. The 3-A standard addresses these scenarios and ensures that the construction of automation systems is cleanable, inspectable and meets the intent of the FDA’s Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. The RBAS standard is voluntary, but any robotics supplier or integrator looking to participate in the fast-paced food processing industry should definitely take a hard look. Schweitzer says 3-A doesn’t endorse or approve any equip- ment. The not-for-profit writes standards and then licenses the use of its registered trademark symbol for equipment that has been inspected by a third-party evaluator and shows conformance to the 3-A Sanitary Standard. JMP’s Client Manager says FSMA (and now 3-A) is compelling the food space to take a look at their processes and how they design their equipment. Trusted systems integrators with expertise in the food industry are at the ready to help proces- sors and packagers improve efficiency and sanitation. Rochelle says the new standard is intended for manufacturers of robots and robotics-related ancillary equipment and the integrators of these systems. It establishes minimum sanitary hygienic requirements for design, materials, fabrica- tion, and installation of the robot and ancillary robotic equipment, including the robot base, end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), tool changers and robot dressing. For his volunteer work on the working group, Rochelle was presented with the 2016 Next Generation Award, which honors individuals who have been engaged in 3-A stan- dards development activities for less than five years and demonstrated significant contributions to the standards development process. He is currently Territory Sales Manager, South East, for Güdel Inc., a robotic gantry manufacturer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and will continue to serve on the 3-A committee. Developed in collaboration with the Robotic Industries Association, the RBAS standard brings together for the first time the robotics and the food processing sanitation worlds. Robotics suppliers and integrators, food processors, and several sanitary regulating bodies, including the USDA and FDA, worked together in its development. “In the world of food science, this is definitely an inaugural moment,” says Eric Schweitzer, Director of Standards and Certification for 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc., in McLean, Virginia.“There’s no process equipment standard that informs manufacturers of robotic automation systems how to design for cleanability and inspectability.” (That is, until now.) “The industry has been progressing more towards auto- mation in recent decades,” says Schweitzer. “It seems to be progressing faster because labor is relatively expensive and robots have become less expensive. Robots don’t have sick days and can operate far more efficiently without taking any breaks.” Developed in collaboration with the Robotic Industries Association, the RBAS standard brings together for the first time the robotics and the food processing sanitation worlds. Robotics suppliers and integrators, food processors, and several sanitary regulating bodies, including the USDA and FDA, worked together in its development. Robotic waterjet system automatically cuts cakes and pastries into any shape and size using a high-pressure stream of water. (Courtesy of ABI LTD)