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UNITEC Group presents the new UNI Robotic division at Macfrut

"Many machines are designed to perform a specific task, whereas a robot can be programmed to perform multiple functions

"Since January we have hired more than 100 people to strengthen our company's structure and also to consolidate our new UNI Robotic division, specialized in intelligent robotic solutions for fresh fruit and vegetables processing," said Angelo Benedetti, president of UNITEC, who presented the main novelty on display at the Macfrut fair.

"Given the increasing shortage of skilled labor, the use of anthropomorphic robots in the working processes is able to guarantee, on the one hand, a strong boost in efficiency and, on the other, a significant gain in effectiveness and precision in the handling of fruits and their packaging. In addition, as well as reducing costs, it relieves staff of burdensome or repetitive tasks, which are often the cause of occupational illnesses."   

Benedetti also underlined a further advantage of robotic solutions. "Usually, a machine developed for a specific task focuses on that task. A robot, on the other hand, can be reprogrammed to perform other different functions, perhaps simply by replacing the end part of the body, and we believe this represents a major saving (over time) for companies that invest in such technologies".

Angelo Benedetti

Unitec is an international group, with 13 branches operating worldwide, specialized in the design and implementation of innovative technologies, 100% developed and produced in-house, dedicated to processing, grading, quality classification and packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables. For over 95 years, Unitec has been committed to improving the quality of the fruit and vegetable processing throughout the more than 65 countries in which it operates. There are more than 35 types of fruits for which the group has designed and developed dedicated technologies, giving a concrete and strong contribution to the business development of these products and the companies that process them.   

"Robotic solutions are affordable even for small companies. However, regardless of its price, what counts for Unitec is that the technology we provide pays for itself over time - thanks to the results it generates - and that it turns into a profit for those who choose it, not a cost. We have never built or implemented something for a customer that was not economically sustainable, even for small to medium-sized companies. UNI Robotic's robotic solutions also respond to this need".

Against a backdrop of rising prices for raw materials, transport and electrical and electronic components, Unitec has so far kept its price lists unchanged. "At the moment we trust that our customers understand and ask for less discounts," jokingly said the president.

Unitec's philosophy is to bring concrete results to its customers, with honesty and responsibility even when things do not immediately succeed perfectly. "In my life I have been lucky enough to meet many good people who, like me, had a desire and a strong passion to improve things to help customers work more efficiently. I believe that only professional work ethics can lead to long-term goals. At Unitec, we want to be responsive to changes in order to meet the current needs of our customers through innovation," said Angelo Benedetti.

UNI Intelligent Weight Solution

During the Macfrut trade fair, Unitec stand showcased some examples of robotic technology, such as UNI INTELLIGENT PACK, able to position apples inside the cells in such a way that all petioles are oriented in the same direction; UNI INTELLIGENT WEIGHT SOLUTION, able to automatically and intelligently adjust the filling of kiwi boxes according to the set weight; UNI INTELLIGENT PUNNET PACK that allows to grab the baskets in pairs and position them inside the box, until it is completely filled. 

UNI Intelligent Pack

These proposals go together with the many other innovative solutions that Unitec has developed for all the processing phases of fresh fruit and vegetables, from emptying to packing, including the sorting of the packed packages and the automatic palletizing, with an accurate and precise classification of the internal and external quality and of all the organoleptic characteristics linked to it; this is carried out on every single fruit thanks to dedicated transport systems and specific highly precise scanning systems developed internally by Unitec's Research and Development Team.

Particular attention was also given to the internal classification of quality by means of the UNIQ range of technologies dedicated to each type of fruit (UNIQ Kiwi, to classify the internal quality of green and yellow kiwi fruit; UNIQ Plum, dedicated to classifying the internal quality of all the many varieties of plum, whether they have yellow or red flesh; UNIQ Apples, dedicated to apples; UNIQ Peach, dedicated to peaches and nectarines; UNIQ Cherry, dedicated to cherries; UNIQ Melon, dedicated to melons, etc.).

A revolutionary and unique solution in the world is the PEARS SORT 3 (in the picture on the right); the scanning system of Unisorting, which can analyze the pear in its entirety, at 360 degrees, without stressing or damaging the fruit during rotation, is an essential advantage given the delicacy and the particular shape of the pear.

"I have to recognize that there is an increasing interest, also in Italy, towards innovative solutions from companies in the fruit and vegetable sector. While the pandemic has been a hindrance on several fronts, it has also stimulated interest in automation, either to compensate for the lack of skilled labor or to reduce staff to limit the spread of the virus. Our technologies aimed at fruit and vegetable plants contribute to the creation of working environments that are more efficient and, at the same time, safer for everyone".

"At Unitec we want to work in close partnership with our customers through continuous innovation and high specialization in order to guarantee them new results, not only in the current context but also in the future," concluded Benedetti.

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