Crop handling is an important part of the daily operations in greenhouses. However, skilled and payable personnel have become scarcer while the global demand for food continues to grow at an accelerating rate. Robotics provides a solution by increasing the continuity and predictability of daily operations while keeping costs at a similar or even lower level.
A Dutch company Priva has introduced Kompano, its first robot on the market that can move through the greenhouse safely and independently whilst working alongside other employees.
The company aims to revolutionize the horticultural market with a fully autonomous de-leafing robot. Designed to de-leaf tomato plants in greenhouses, Kompano is a battery-powered robot that can operate on a 24/7 basis.
Kompano features a 5-kWh battery, weighs almost 425 kg, and measures 6.2 ft (191 cm) long, 2.8 ft (88 cm) wide, and 5.9 ft (180 cm) high. Its patented end-effector and smart algorithms guarantee the effectiveness of over 85% at a weekly range of 1 hectare. The leaf-cutting robot is easily controlled by a smart device and adjustable to users’ preferences and requirements.
According to the company, it is the first robot worldwide that provides users with an economically viable alternative for de-leafing tomato crops by hand. The autonomous tomato de-leafing machine makes it easier for growers to manage their workforce.
Developed in partnership with MTA, leading Dutch growers, technology partners, and experts, Kompano was presented at the end of September at the GreenTech event and is now ready for use in the market. The robot has already been successfully tested in several greenhouses in the Netherlands. A series of 50 robots are in production at MTA and are available for purchase on the Priva website, although there is no information regarding the machine’s price.
In time, the Kompano line will be expanded to a leaf-cutting robot for cucumbers and harvesting robots for tomatoes and cucumbers.