Robotic deleafer in spotlight
By Annelie Koomen
Three-day GreenTech Show features the latest in innovation
By Annelie Koomen
October 2016 – A deleafing robot cleaned up the top award at this year’s GreenTech Show held in mid-June in Amsterdam.
Priva was crowned overall winner of the Innovation Award with its deleafing robot. The GreenTech Innovation Award represents worldwide recognition in horticulture technology.
“Together with a large group of tomato growers, Priva has developed a robot that removes leaves from tomato plants completely and independently and in an economically profitable manner,” notes the GreenTech website description. “Innovative vision technology and robust mechatronics are used to cut leaves fast and with high precision. Although rather complex from a technology point of view, the robot is still quite simple to operate.”
In the jury’s opinion, the system “provides an innovative solution to a serious issue facing tomato growers. Priva’s robot takes the arduous chore of deleafing off their hands, carries it out entirely independently, is economically appealing, is very accurate as it works leaf by leaf, and can therefore transfer no viruses or almost none from one plant to another. Priva developed the deleafing robot in co-operation with a large number of growers and this means the product received ample field testing. The jury views Priva’s innovation as the start of a large series of robots, which will be developed for and utilized in horticulture over the coming years. In short, Priva’s deleafing robot heralds the start of a new era for international horticulture.”
The showcase of innovation was often cited as the number one draw to this three-day show held every other year.
There were two other major award-winners.
The ISO Plantsampler won in the Production category. The website description is as follows: “The ISO Plantsampler automates the gathering of DNA material. In the germination process it is crucial to know the DNA profile of new varieties. Until now, DNA material has been gathered by manually taking leaf samples of a plant and analyzing these with DNA sequencers. The ISO Plantsampler automates this process by taking samples from a leaf of a seedling and placing them on a microplate.”
The jury was quite impressed. “During the germination process it is crucial to ascertain the new plant species’ DNA profile. The ISO Plantsampler can independently take samples from leaves and collect the DNA material on a microplate. In the jury’s opinion, the ISO Plantsampler offers a great, automated technique that provides 100 per cent accuracy enabling work to be carried out rapidly and precisely.”
The HortiMaX-Go! by Ridder Hortimax Group won in the Automation Solutions category. “The HortiMaX-Go! is the all-new Smart Greenhouse Controller. It is a modern, user-friendly and affordable horticultural computer for controlling both greenhouse climate and irrigation. It can be easily customized choosing unique ‘Smart Switches’ that can be installed in a plug-and-play manner.”
According to the jury, the HortiMaX-Go! “is a modern, user-friendly, affordable climate control and greenhouse irrigation technology. The modular system uses smart switches that can be installed in a plug-and-play manner. The technology fulfills the growers’ needs in a very user-friendly way. This innovation was intended to be entry level even in terms of cost so that everyone is capable of using and operating the technology.”
The GreenTech Community Award was introduced this year, with the winner being “Connected Screening” by Hoogendoorn and Svensson.
Some 9,721 professionals from 113 countries attended the show (97 countries in 2014), with 52 per cent of the visitors coming from outside the Netherlands. The largest growth came from Asia and the U.S.
The next edition of GreenTech will be held June 12-14 in 2018 and kicks off with the GreenTech Summit on June 11.