On the first day of GreenTech 2016, Priva will introduce a deleafing robot to the market. This robot will be the first product, worldwide, that provides growers with an economically viable alternative for manual deleafing of tomato crops. Three major growers from the consortium involved in the development, Lans, Prominent and Vereijken Kwekerijen expressed their commitment and will start working with the robot. The Priva Deleafing Robot is the first in a series of solutions for automated crop labour in horticulture. The official names of both this first robot as well as the series will be announced at GreenTech.
Crop labour is an important part of the daily operations and the issues growers are facing in this context are getting more and more complex. Labour expenses are a particularly large part of the operational costs, but that’s not all. Labour can be unpredictable and for a large number of tasks, finding a motivated workforce to carry out the work is getting much harder.
Robotics have the potential to increase the continuity and predictability of daily operations, while keeping costs at an equal or even lower level.
Co-creation with growers
Cooperation, patience, perseverance and a lot of courage were indispensable in this unique project. The intensive involvement of a large number of growers proved to be essential: only the growers can truly assess the practical applicability of the robot. And that is where a lot of attention has been given to during the development.
The development process was preceded by another decision, which was the decision of which crop labour task was going to be automated first. The choice of deleafing was a logical one, because the potential risks for the growers were acceptable.
The robot is best suited for growers that have the ambition to automate crop labour. Because the robot can operate next to the human workforce and can take care of part of the crop labour tasks, it is possible to introduce crop labour automation gradually.
Three major growers from the consortium involved in the development expressed their commitment and will start working with the robot. This makes them the first companies in the world that have introduced fully automated crop labour into their daily operations. Pre-ordering will be possible from 14 June, both at the GreenTech and online.
Robotics as a service
The way the deleafing robot is added to the daily operations, is in fact quite similar to that of the human workforce. Automated deleafing is offered as a service, enabling growers to profit from the advantages of the product instantly, without a long payback period.
Deleafing tomatoes is only the beginning. This first generation of automated crop labour will lead to more automated solutions, such as different crops and tasks, for example harvesting cucumbers.
For further information contact: Wilma van der Lely, Priva Senior Communications Horticulture, Ph: +31 (0)174 522 600 Ω
Posted 12 June 2016