Greenhouse Growers

Attached to the end of a robotic arm, the sides of this gripper are fitted with inflatable air bags to allow it to pick up a sweet pepper without damaging it.

engineering department of Fontys University of Applied Sciences Technology and Logistics at Venlo, included two novel grippers. One used a compressor to inflate a series of bags to grip a variety of salad crops, such as sweet peppers. The other used air pressure to open and close a series of rubber ‘fingers’ to handle tomatoes. The students hope to start tests with both systems shortly.

Fontys students also brought a few other robotic solutions to the Dutch show, one of which included an automatic system for hoeing between the erop rows, which could have an application in organic greenhouse crops grown in the soil.

Finally, Dutch-firm The Tape Factory claims a market­leading position in the bakery sector for its bread­bag sealers. Now the Aalsmeer-based company is looking to enjoy similar successes in the horticultural industry with an automatic and high-speed version that can be incorporated into a line to seal the plastic covering cut flower bouquets, and at the same time enclose it with a fertiliser sachet.
Called the FreshSealer, the company admits it is not the first to develop such a system, but claims the highest output on the market with a version capable of reaching as many as 5,000 closures per hour.
This high speed is not the only feature, because the company says it has developed a user-friendly system where consumers can easily prize open the seal to get at the sachet.
The rental price of around [6,000 a year, includes all installation, training, and all service and maintenance. The manufacturer says this cost can be justified with nurseries currently using a manual system achieving around 3,000 closures per day.

Made by The Tape Factory, the FreshSealer is capable of sealing the plastic on as many as 5,000 cut flower bouquets an hour, enclosing all of them with a fertiliser sachet.

The seal made by the FreshSealer can quickly and easily be opened by consumers to get at the fertiliser sachet.







The commercial Greenhouse growers – August 2016