Normal processing involves a large human intervention. Manual harvesting of raw materials, sorting, trimming off defects, peeling, extraction, mixing, cooking… up to manual filling and sealing.
Fully automated processing line is a series where almost all duty are done by machinery. A coca-cola manufacturing plant featured by Discovery Channel is almost fully automated. Very less human efforts involved.
Processing of potato chips start by tumbling potatoes under shower, passing through peeler, to cutter, fryer, then to packaging line. Everything is done nicely and continuously by machines.
Semi-automated – most operations are done by humans and some are done by machinery. The popular in this category are form-fill-seal machine and the peel-slice-fry equipment.
Reasons why choose automated processing lines:
Machine can do way faster than human can. Sliced hundred bananas in minutes by machine compare to only ten by kitchen knife and human hand.
Accuracy and precision. Finely ground meat from a mincer is cannot be achieved by knife and chopping board or by an ordinary meat grinder. A two millimeter slice thickness can be done accurately and precisely by a machine cutter. Such is impossible manually.
Less human intervention means less contaminants and less faults. The sterile juice maybe contaminated again by packaging division personnel. Such recontamination is less likely if the line is fully automated.
More investment on machinery but less cost on human resource management. Less labor strikes, less salaries, less bonuses and other cost benefits. A great advantage to firm owners.