Harvesting robot for cut roses – measures, locates, tracks and cuts ripe roses.
|High wages and labour shortages have led to automation in the production of fresh cut roses.
Due to the development of the mobile rose cultivation system, it has become possible to transport the rose plants to a fixed location in the greenhouse for harvesting, instead of sending the workers into the greenhouse.
By linking up to this development, Jentjens – in cooperation with the Product Board for Horticulture, Wageningen University and Van Doren Engineers – has developed a fully automatic cut rose harvesting robot.
Three robots in one
The harvesting robot consists of three transportable robots:
• a ripeness robot, for measuring and localising harvest-ripe roses,
• a stem cutting robot, for tracking and cutting the stem,
• and a gripping robot for gripping and suspending the cut rose.
The ripeness robot and the stem cutting robot are equipped with cameras and lighting to allow harvesting with the aid of 2-D and 3-D vision systems. The vision systems and the robots communicate via a main controller, which also operates the gutter transport system.
Vision: ripeness detection
The ripeness robot takes video images of the roses and uses them to determine both the ripeness and the exact positions of the roses. These positions are communicated to the main controller, which then directs the gripping robot to grip the individual ripe roses.
Vision: tracking the stem and determining the cutting position
After the stem has been gripped, a second vision system looks at the stem. It determines the exact cutting point on the stem, after which the cutting robot cuts the rose. After this, the gripper robot is directed to suspend the cut rose. This robot can be connected to a special outfeed system that carries the roses to a bunch sorting machine.