Food manufacturer opens new factory with robots and machine learning


Robots are coming to the fore following the launch of one of Queensland’s largest cake factories.

Priestley Gourmet Delights, a dessert and savoury food maker, has opened its new AI-powered facility in Acacia Ridge, Brisbane, which measures more than 7,500 square meters.

The facility utilises autonomous robots capable of baking and stacking trays, as well as tracking all products and monitoring temperatures, while machine learning systems aim to manage ingredient levels and improve productivity.

Automating Priestley’s processes is expected to increase product packing rates, cut factory bottlenecks, and reduce overall costs.

Despite more robots on the factory floor, the company says decorating will still occur by hand.

The upgrade to the facility has also increased staff levels, with 56 new roles to be created by 2026, while existing staff will be upskilled.

Priestley’s Gourmet Delights CEO, Xanny Christophersen, says the company has come a long way since it was founded and it’s exciting to be part of the next industrial revolution.

“As the niece of the founder, I’ve watched the business grow over the years and our new facility is testament not only to her drive but the hard work of all of our employees,” Christophersen says.

“The technology we’re harnessing will allow us to boost productivity while also enabling us to grow our people and support them to upskill. This project will create a substantial number of new jobs for Queenslanders, as well as add to the state’s economy.

“This increased productivity means that we’re able to retail an exciting new range of products directly to consumers for the first time.”


The robotic and autonomous systems was developed by Mexx Engineering, a QLD robotic assembly system engineering firm.

The development of the new facility was supported by a $2.5 million Made in Queensland grant, which allowed Priestly to acquire the autonomous equipment and onshore some of its production.

“Queensland manufacturers are doing amazing things and that is no more evident than right here at Priestley’s Gourmet, a business that is continuing to innovate with advanced manufacturing technology,” Queensland Minister for Manufacturing Glenn Butcher says.

“I am thrilled to be here at the opening of Priestley’s new manufacturing site, a state-of-the-art facility that has allowed them to on shore the production of their lava cakes from New Zealand to right here in Acacia Ridge.

“Our plan for manufacturing in this state is about providing our manufactures with the support they need to get on with the job, so they can reach the next level.”

This new factory opens as the government unveils its new National Robotics Strategy, designed to boost Australia’s robotics and automation capabilities.

Federal Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, says, “robotics and automation are critical to building a Future Made in Australia”.

“Lifting the adoption of these technologies will allow our manufacturers to produce higher quality products in less time and make them more internationally competitive.”

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