The SmartPackr packing robot picks and places the apples with the help of a gentle robot arm, using a special technology that prevents possible damage to the fragile apple skin.
Testing of the second generation of apple robots was carried out on the fruits of the most delicate variety Golden Delicious, which is damaged by the slightest touch.
In 2018, after a development period of a few years, the SmartPackr was presented. The packing robot is intended for packing and placing apples in polypropylene or paper trays for corrugated boxes.
From the sorting machine, apples move on soft rubberized diabolos to the packing robot. A color camera makes sure that the apple is placed in the correct stem and calyx position and with the blush side up. The robot can optionally be equipped with iQS for external quality detection. This measuring system will determine whether the apple is suitable or needs to be removed. If the apple is different from the specified quality criteria, then the robot arm skips the fruit.
Thus, the robot arm takes the fruit from the conveyor and puts only high-quality apples into the tray. The arm with suction cup has a unique shape so that the apples are not damaged at the time of picking and placing.
“The careful attitude towards fruit was one of the requirements that the SmartPackr had to meet. That’s why we tested the equipment on Golden Delicious apples,” said Diederik Peters, Greefa’s Project Manager Development.
The Greefa apple picking and placing robot is equipped with a number of high-tech options, for example, the robot's head can rotate an apple 360 degrees and places fruits in cells only with the blush side up and in the selected stem-calyx orientation. The settings of the grading machine allow to determine how the fruit is placed in the tray, moreover, the system itself can determine the size, type, capacity of the tray-tab and see if the apple fits in the cell. Another undoubted advantage of the second-generation robot is its productivity, which is up to two apples per second. This is more than 7,000 pieces per hour! One robot replaces the work of three human packers within 24 hours, while excluding the influence of the human factor. Greefa’s SmartPackr can be used both separately in the packaging line, and as part of a grading and packing line.
For over 75 years, Greefa has specialized in machines for sorting and grading apples, pears, fruits and vegetables. The technologies introduced by the company are patented and significantly exceed the analogs of other companies in terms of technical equipment and economic effect. One of the main differences of Greefa is a wide range of machines: from simple sorting solutions to multistage large turnkey projects. The assortment has a simple MultiSort first-step machine - ultra-fast weight sorting with intuitive control.
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