Robotic Packaging Optimization with Reinforcement Learning

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Intelligent manufacturing is becoming increasingly important due to the growing demand for maximizing productivity and flexibility while minimizing waste and lead times. This work investigates automated secondary robotic food packaging solutions that transfer food products from the conveyor belt into containers. A major problem in these solutions is varying product supply which can cause drastic productivity drops. Conventional rule-based approaches, used to address this issue, are often inadequate, leading to violation of the industry's requirements. Reinforcement learning, on the other hand, has the potential of solving this problem by learning responsive and predictive policy, based on experience. However, it is challenging to utilize it in highly complex control schemes. In this paper, we propose a reinforcement learning framework, designed to optimize the conveyor belt speed while minimizing interference with the rest of the control system. When tested on real-world data, the framework exceeds the performance requirements (99.8% packed products) and maintains quality (100% filled boxes). Compared to the existing solution, our proposed framework improves productivity, has smoother control, and reduces computation time.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE 19th International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering, CASE 2023
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-2069-5
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event19th IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering, CASE 2023 - Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 26 Aug 202330 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering
ISSN (Print)2161-8070
ISSN (Electronic)2161-8089


Conference19th IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering, CASE 2023
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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