A leaf-picking robot from Lenzeel is helping out in the cucumber greenhouse at Drenthe Growers. The growers bought the robot after seeing good test results, as they shared in a video.
The leaf-picking robot is designed especially for high-wire cultivation, in what the robot removes at least 80% of the leaves in the 50-centimeter picking area. At test sites, the robot was already operational for 75% of the crop in 2021. There, the robot has saved at least half of the labor hours for leaf picking.
The Diplo leaf-picking robot is powered by a three-phase current. Thanks to its moving platform, the robot can move from one tube rail to another over the center aisle. Using tags next to each row, in which the length of the row and the distance between rows is entered, the robot knows how long the row is and the distance to transverse.
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.
Jan Lenders and Ed Zeelen founded Lenzeel and designed the Diplo leaf-picking robot. The robot can be compared somewhat to a vacuum cleaner. Stijn Linders understands the comparison, as he mentioned during a visit to another grower working with the robot last year. "It makes noise because of the sucking and blowing. There's no need to be alarmed by that. The Diplo handles the plants very subtly."
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