Dematic has partnered with Aspire Food Group for the construction of a new facility expected to revolutionise food-grade insect protein production.
The project, expected for completion early next year, will develop the world’s first fully automated food-grade insect protein manufacturing site with Dematic Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) technology.
Dematic will implement an 11-story high, high-density automated storage system using totes to breed and mature crickets prior to processing for pet and human consumption. Integrating with other technology providers, totes will be monitored to ensure food-grade quality using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and sensors that provide data to deep-learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to optimise conditions for maturation, breeding, and incubation.
The AS/RS technology will minimise the amount of human touch required within the food production process, provide complete oversight for accuracy across every tote in the system, and optimize site space to maximize production. The system will integrate other technologies to control temperature and humidity in each tote. The 96,000 totes will contain enough crickets to produce 20,000 metric tons of cricket protein and frass (waste used for fertilizer and soil supplements) each year.
First awarded the Hult prize for innovation in food security, the business has attracted significant support from private equity and government. The Aspire Food Group facility being constructed in London, Ontario is the largest project funded by NGen, Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. NGen brings together next-generation manufacturing and technology to drive digital transformation in Canada.
Mohammed Ashour, CEO and Co-Founder of Aspire Food Group says the company is building a new agricultural sector that will address the challenges of protein shortage and sustainability, partnering with companies focused on advanced technology.
“The collaboration will generate intellectual property that will benefit both manufacturing and agricultural industries throughout North America, accelerating technology adoption,” he says.
This is the first time IIoT sensors, AS/RS, and AI will be deployed in climate controlled, indoor vertical agriculture with living organisms.
Vera Friedrich, Vice President and Managing Director, Dematic Canada says the integrated approach has provided a solution for the global challenge of food insecurity
“Dematic is proud to be a partner with Aspire in advancing technology for the agricultural industry and global food sustainability,” she says.