The Dutch look set to continue to be innovators in the greenhouse trade, with robotics company saying it’s on the verge of making the first fully automated greenhouse harvesting and management unit for cucumbers within the next two years.
Automation is a growing reality in the modern world, and despite the widespread unemployment and social upheaval it also threatens to usher in, this new invention is being heralded as boosting yields as well as better management of greenhouse set ups.
The new robot can recognise, qualify, select, harvest, transport, and pack ready to ship cucumbers, all without human intervention. Crux Agrobiotics took over the project in 2014 after it had been shelved several years ago. Spokesperson for the company, Richard Vialle, said the mechanics of the robot weren’t the biggest challenge in making it work, but rather cited the vast amount of data it collects at each stage of management, harvest and transport as the largest hurdle.
Interpreting the data and making it usable to greenhouse managers means they can potentially fine tune the technology to massively increase yields and capacity in existing production greenhouses. It can even stop the introduction of pests and diseases. As Vialle has said that, with robotics:
The greenhouse requires a lot less people, with a higher yield per m2 and less chance to catch viruses. And there are more benefits. The grower has 24/7 insight into his greenhouse and crop. This enables him to predict how many fruits can be harvested, packed and sold.
The company is looking for investors to get the robot into greenhouses. They’ve been pruned on with their recent first sale a sorting robot that can process over 30,000 cucumbers per hour to a Canadian grower.
More on the Crux Agrobiotics website.