FTNON announces first iceberg lettuce decoring machine
Food Technology Noord-Oost Nederland (FTNON) today announced the global release of the world’s first robotic decoring machine for iceberg lettuce, the CoreTakr. This new innovation combines intelligent gripper technology with the robot techniques, advanced software and 3D-cameras. According to FTNON the combination of these product features result in more productivity and efficiency, amongst a broad range of other advantages it has to offer.
The CoreTakr is meant to be used at the beginning of production lines in the fresh cut industry. FTNON describes it as a highly intelligent device. Richard van der Linde, director of FTNON Delft, describes it as the ‘sense – think – act’ principle:
“First, the lettuce is scanned by five cameras that jointly give a peripheral scan of the product. The images of the cameras are combined by a powerful computer into one spatial model to detect the core of the lettuce. In flight, a 6th camera verifies the core position, and adapts the lettuce position if required. After that, the lettuce is accurately placed into the decoring mechanism. With the innovative decoring knives, only the undesired part of the lettuce is then cut out.”
FTNON claims that the machine can decore up to 1.800 iceberg lettuce heads an hour, with a yield up to 96%. “After five years of research and development to refine our technology, we are proud to show the industry what the CoreTakr is capable of” as stated by Van der Linde.
FTNON describes the CoreTakr as a ‘smart’ machine, as it produces a vast amount of data. “It produces up to a terabyte per unit of precious information hidden in that data. Most of it is related to various quality metrics”, Van der Linde says.
Complementary to that, Andre van der Wei, Managing Director of the FTNON Group states “we analyse and share the collected data with our customers. Accordingly, we can meet the standards of relative legislation to product traceability requirements. Therefore customers know exactly which products entered their production facility at what specific time.”
Change in the industry
The fresh cut industry is subject to food safety and quality requirements, which are becoming more stringent every year. “With the introduction of the CoreTakr, we can offer more complete production lines to our customers, and thereby meet the demanding hygiene requirements which the industry is facing” says Van der Wei. “Up until this day, decoring lettuces is performed by manual labor, in a cold, wet and moist environment. This can give all sorts of health problems to employees, and quality issues to the product for the fresh cut industry. It is designed according to stringent hygienic (design) standards, and is therefore compatible with current food safety standards.”
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Publication date: 1/27/2017
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