"Camera technology and AI enhance our quality and crop process"

Based in Honselersdijk (NL), Frestia is constantly looking for new insights and developments to improve the quality of its product and to optimize the crop process. That's where Gearbox comes in. Located just a short drive away in Maasdijk, Gearbox produces high-tech robotic solutions that support the horticultural sector to work smarter and in a data-driven manner.  

Together, they have partnered to introduce the GearPerformer into the high-end quality and crop processes. By using advanced camera technology and artificial intelligence, the machine offers a solution for automating the sorting of fruit and vegetables from a picking belt.

Patrick Franken of Frestia expects the GearPerformer to better anticipate future issues, such as labor savings, quality improvement and customer-centric requirements. "More than 300 bell peppers pass on the belt per minute," he says. "Until recently, these snack peppers were inspected for quality by just two people. With such a volume, it's not always possible to remove 100% of all products that do not meet quality standards. In addition, the availability of personnel is becoming an increasing challenge."

GearPerformer helps to address these issues. By utilizing camera technology, smart AI software, and robotics, the machine assesses the quality of the product from all sides and sorts out peppers that do not meet the designated requirements. Examples of traits are damage, color and shape deviation, dimensions, mold and damage. Franken further notes, "Taste is of paramount importance to us, and quality is part of that. You taste with your eyes, external characteristics being relevant. Since the consumer puts the snack pepper directly in their mouth, the product must meet the desired quality."

Data, data and more data
A valuable side effect is that GearPerformer generates an enormous amount of data, which Frestia can use to optimize business processes in both the greenhouse and the packaging environment. "The reporting dashboard gives us a source of new insights into things that we previously did not have so explicitly in view. We gain much more insight into the batch quality and variety," says Franken. This allows Frestia to better cater to customer tastes. He adds, "We want to differentiate more towards our customers. I expect this will have a new impact."

Franken also sees opportunities to generate useful information with Gearbox software. For example, to establish a link between climate conditions in the greenhouse and product quality by analyzing data collected on temperature and amount of sunlight in the greenhouse. "The more data we get, the more we can optimize the crop processes. I see the GearPerformer as a new start in innovation and robotization at our company."

The entire article can be read on the Gearbox website.

Fruit Logistica and HortiContact
Gearbox's GearPerformer can be seen live at Fruit Logistica in Berlin (8 to 10 February, Hall 4.1, C-33) and HortiContact (14 to 16 February, D-129) in Gorinchem.

For more information:
Frestia B.V.
Patrick Franken
Vogelaer 8, 2675 SH Honselersdijk
+31 174 296 796 

Gearbox Innovations B.V.
Ab van Staalduinen
Nollaantje 42c
2676 BW Maasdijk
+31 174 295 714 

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