In August this year, Lenzeel gave a small glimpse of their Diplo cucumber leaf picking robot. Some tests and tweaks followed, and now, this mechanical leaf picker is ready to go on sale in early 2022. Below, the company has shared some new footage of the machine, where you can see, for example, that the robot has a UV-C light that disinfects the picking unit after it is done with each row.
It took Lenzeel two years to develop and extensively test this machine. The Dutch engineering company, led by Jan Lenders and Ed Zeelen, will begin delivering the first series early next year, of which half has already been sold to high-wire cucumber growers.
In this type of cultivation, the Diplo C100 series picks at least 80% of leaves in a 50cm picking area. At the test sites, the robot was already used for 75% of the 2021 crop where it saved up to half the leaf-picking labor hours.
The company has patented the invention. The robot has several basic components: the so-called picking unit consists of a fan and electrically driven rollers. This part sucks up the leaves and picks them from the stem. After each pass, the picking unit is disinfected with UV-C light - a recent addition following market advice. This automatic disinfection means there is no longer any chance of someone forgetting to clean the blade.
The machine moves from row to row by itself. The undercarriage has an adjustable track width, depending on the pipe rail size. It is also fitted with 360-degree sensors to avoid obstacles, and the Diplo C100 series has an automatic power cable reel. The cable length depends on the driving distance.