"COVID-19 is affecting all of us. All over the world we are being challenged by this situation. It is our firm belief, that in these days, we need to collaborate to address urgent needs and at the same time to look forward, on how we can limit the impact of future threats like these." The speaker is Richard Vialle, CCO and founder Crux Agribotics. He is sure automation and robotics are the future for growers.
Bottleneck for scalability
"Human labour will become more and more a bottleneck for future scalability as human labour is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce. In addition, labour is not available 24/7. Unlike robots, people do not work consistently, are less hygienic and when they do not turn up, they need to be replaced and trained with all associated costs. If we want to feed the mouths of the growing world population, automation will be the key enabler," Richard explains.
Answering to this, Crux Agribotics and KOAT launched SortiPack® Robotics in 2019. SortiPack is a modular system for automatic grading, sorting and packing of fruit and vegetables. Through the modular design of the machine, the optical technology and self-learning systems for weighing and sorting, algorithms can be reused. Gripping technology and processing concepts can be optimised per product and package type.
"Triggered by the current challenges in the fresh produce industry we will increase our investments into our SortiPack® Robotics", Richard continues. "We will develop new business models with the sector that enable them to adopt new technology in a smoother way, paying per month or per capacity used, aligned with current seasonal or variable costs. To validate feasibility jointly, we will expand our facilities for testing market players’ products on to our robots."
Inviting the industry
Crux Agribotics invites the industry to work together with them to innovate and to define and to realize greenhouses, packing centers and production systems that are resilient for future viruses and global threats. "Together with growers, other technical suppliers and greenhouse builders we can create more sustainable food production systems. We invite them to participate in our development and to learn together from this crisis period. We believe that this crisis will accelerate cooperation opportunities and automation requirements in general. It is that finding which has driven our investments into R&D for robotics, computer vision and deep learning to ensure a consistent, hygienic and scalable process for food producers, where dependency on human labor can be minimized to acceptable and manageable levels."
Crux Agribotics develops, delivers and supports automatic grading, sorting and packing robotics with vision and machine-/deep learning software. Crux Agribotics is dedicated to automating processes within the agriculture / horticulture markets together with its sister company KOAT B.V. who delivers complete systems for material handling and internal logistics for growers world-wide. Crux Agribotics is growing rapidly and setting up local sales and service offices across the globe. Currently services are being delivered from its headquarters in Eindhoven, The Netherlands and a service hub in Ontario, Canada is being set up.
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