While the current focus is on strawberries, the system is designed to be scalable and adaptable to other crops, such as tomatoes or peppers, offering a versatile solution for farmers.

Strawberry Harvesting Robot– Ripe for the Future
Strawberry Harvesting Robot– Ripe for the Future

Ronen Sadan, Elmo VP of Marketing | Elmo Motion Control

Where motion matters

Fruit harvesting is a seasonal activity that requires efficiency, precision, and gentleness. In addition, studies show that farmers will face a workforce shortage in the future. In recent years, the fruit harvesting market has been moving towards automation to reduce costs and increase production while preserving the plants and fruit. One such robot company, IAV, has entered the strawberry harvesting market with its latest invention.

IAV, a company that initially served the automotive industry, has now set its sights on agriculture. Their foray into the agricultural sector brings a host of benefits for farmers. With IAV robotics, farms can operate more efficiently, flexibly, and predictably, increasing productivity. While the current focus is on strawberries, the system is designed to be scalable and adaptable to other crops, such as tomatoes or peppers, offering a versatile solution for farmers.

Patented scissors and fan grippers

Strawberries, those delicate fruits, require a gentle touch when picked to avoid any damage. IAV's strawberry harvesting robot, with its patented scissors, image processing, and fan grippers, handles these fruits with utmost care. It cuts the fruit off at the stem, grips it to prevent it from falling, and deposits it in the palletizer, all without a single bruise. These tools are splash-proof and adaptable to various humidity levels, making them perfect for any farm environment.

In a recent interview, Product Manager Harvesting Systems IAV Enrico Neumann discussed the newly developed strawberry-picking robot manufactured by IAV and its sophisticated “motion” implementation.

Mr. Neuman stated, “The main challenge was performance. we needed perfect motion accuracy and stability. The robot must be reliable and as robust as possible for outdoor challenges. Elmo Motion Control Solutions fitted us like a glove and delivered the needed results. Space is limited in the robot arm. Elmo's Twitter servo drive, a very small form factor smaller than the size of a matchbox, enabled us a fast and easy integration directly into the machine”.

IAV looked for a decentralized solution where the drive could be located close to the actuator to reduce cabling and EMC (Electromagnetic) noise and have less load/weight in the entire robot arm; therefore, the Twitter servo drive was integrated without influencing the mass and performance of the joints with a low weight of <30g/drive.

Dr. Chris Schinlbeck added, “The fast integration of the Elmo servo drives along with the Elmo software application tools enables a fast tuning of the drives according to the actuators' profiles and lets us check the robot's electrical system without the complete software.” In addition, Dr. Shinlbeck added, “The rich feature set, including Functional Safety and FSoE, allows us freedom of movement and to look forward.”

Our mission is to strengthen agriculture and protect the climate

As a Tech Solution Provider, we develop state-of-the-art engineering solutions and make them available where needed. In the field of Advanced AI robotics, IAV has completed a technology transfer. Proven technologies from the automotive sector are moving from the road to the field.

This makes our harvesting robot an important building block on the road to Agriculture 4.0 and can help farmers maintain Germany’s competitiveness as a business location. The targeted use of robot technology increases the degree of digitalization, networking, and automation on farms, guaranteeing safety, ergonomics, and adaptability in work processes.

Adaptability is in high demand because farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to find enough harvest workers. The harvesting robot solves this problem and enables farmers to offer their products competitively. This strengthens the domestic business location and protects the environment, as fewer goods must be imported at great expense.

 

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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