Automatic cucumber sorting in new packing concept

The integrated SortiFlex pack robot enables its customers to sort, grade and pack cucumbers automatically and without human assistance. 
The machine is an innovation from Christiaens Agro Systems, a specialist in grading lines for long-shaped vegetables. 

The robot was developed in cooperation with experts at Beltech, a specialist in vision technology, and ABI, a manufacturer of high-end delta pick robots. The combined group developed a new concept designed to automatically sort and pack cucumbers at high speed. 

SortiFlex Pack Robot

The actual Integrading functionality is performed by the Beltech vision algoritms. "These complex algoritms enable real-time 3D image capturing, on-board processing of organic materials", they explain to uss. "For example, a continuous stream of cucumbers will be converted into 3D information in a point-cloud of every single product. From this point cloud, which contains no intelligence, the software algoritms are able to determine numerous variables which are needed further down the line, again for every single product." 

According to the Beltech team, grading is an important aspect of handling organic products. "In organic products, or produce, none of the individuel products is the same. Growing conditions cause a mixture of size and quality-aspects on every single product. Properly classifying allows the grower or trader to sell the well-shaped products for a better price than the rest."

In the SortiFlex Integraded pack Robots, the grading-outcome is immediately communicated to fast robots, resulting in a correctly placed product. First level examples of the outcome are: length, diameter, exact position, orientation, freshness and damages. The second level is ‘grading’ by using all available first-level details and merge them into the desired outcome: which destination is the right one for this organic product? Each cucumber will end up in the right customer specific tray on either one of the four lines.

Multiple package types
This is accomplished with a fully-automated robotic system featuring the latest 3D vision and flexible robot pickers. This sorting cell can pack cucumbers directly into multiple package types.

For more information:
Hans Kalter
Christiaens Agro Systems BV
Fruit Logistica Hall 7.1a, Booth A-05
Tel: +31 61020 0594 

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