AVL Motion has brought the AVL Compact S9000 onto the market. Quite a mouthful. This latest automatic asparagus harvester is a futuristic sight in the Dutch village of Grashoek. From early morning to late night, the robot, seemingly calmly, harvests asparagus. The machine sports a gondola that houses 12 rotating harvesting modules.
“Sixteen-hour workdays don't faze the AVL Compact S9000. We designed it in such a way that it can harvest asparagus non-stop. It makes the future of farming a reality. And it brings an end to having laborers in the field. It's not only efficient; it saves money too. Stabbing knives have been used to harvest asparagus for decades. These can now be displayed as relics. That symbolizes the end of an era," says AVL Motion's Arno Van Lankveld.
Dutch grower, Johan Neessen, uses the AVL Compact S9000. He's satisfied with it. "It can be further developed. But this machine does what's it supposed to - harvest high-quality asparagus non-stop. They're going to remove the 'limiter' next year; then, we can run at full speed. In anticipation of that, we're already looking at the logistical process. That's so we can keep the post-harvesting quality as high as possible."
In recent years AVL Motion has worked hard to optimize harvesting capacity. Mechanically, the machine achieved a maximum of 9,000 spears/hour. That's at a driving speed of 3.6 km/hour. Last season was used to demonstrate reliability and ease of use. "Our clients simply don't accept Idle or labor-intensive machines," says Arno.
Innovative film throughput
This harvesting robot steers itself over the asparagus mounds. A single operator turns the machine when it reaches the end of a row. They do so using a remote control. They then feed the film that covers the mounds into the machine. The machine has a patented foil feed system. The plastic isn't damaged, and the machine is easy to operate.
“It's very user-friendly, and you don't need training courses. We designed it so farmers can easily replace parts like blades and grippers. Should something go wrong with the software, we can intervene remotely. In the unlikely event of a mechanical problem, we can slide the entire drive unit out of the machine. We can change the motor within an hour," concludes Arno.
Lightweight and maneuverable
The S9000 weighs about 4,400kg, which is lighter than the average tractor. So, it doesn't compact the soil as it drives over it. This compact design lets you turn on the headland within five meters. That, in just one minute.
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