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Preparing for the future, getting a better grip and saving costs with smart sorting system

Smart sorting system saves costs, delivers customized products and enables fruit and vegetable growers to get a better grip on production. Since 2019, Crux Agribotics has been marketing a system for smart sorting, weighing and packaging that allows growers to classify their fruit and vegetables very accurately. The technology makes it possible to deliver a uniform product and thus save on costs.
Smart sorting system

IN SHORT

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Focus on customer business drivers when collecting data

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With a pay per use business model, smaller customers can also be convinced

The sorting lines supplied by Crux Agribotics are currently used mainly for beef tomatoes and cucumbers. For horticulturists, the appeal of the so-called SortiPack system is particularly in the saving of a dozen workers. "Our lines also run 24/7," says Charlotte Jannes, responsible for marketing. "That's handy, because in modern greenhouses everything grows on even at night." The Eindhoven-based company enables growers to get more information about their wares based on data collection. They can use that data for a more competitive price-quality ratio. The system is based on a self-learning algorithm.

Using measurement data from sorting line to adjust processes in greenhouse

All data is available for analysis purposes. For example, the information can be used to determine where products in greenhouses grow faster and where Agricrux Robotics grows less hard. The product data from the sorting line can thus be used to adjust settings in greenhouses. "With the data from our SortiPack system we can analyze the conditions in greenhouses," Jannes clarifies. "The crates come in in a specific order. We know from each part of the greenhouse whether there are larger or smaller tomatoes coming in. If we compare that with other data, such as on temperature and nutrition, we can learn more about the growing conditions and the grower can make adjustments." Crux Agribotics, along with Beltech, Smart Vision Center, Vimec Applied Vision Technology and KOAT, form the One of a Kind Technologies group. Within these companies, more than 130 engineers and technicians work on products for specific niches within the food, pharma and agriculture markets.

"If we compare that with other data, such as on temperature and nutrition, we can learn more about growing conditions and the grower can make adjustments."

Charlotte Jannes

Sorting line supports business drivers growers

The fruit and vegetable trade has roughly two business drivers: weight and quality. In the market for beef tomatoes, for example, customers pay per box, agreeing on the price per class. If the content is superior in shape with the perfect color, then the fruit and vegetable store will pay the most euros for it. The agreements in the trade are therefore quite simple: the seller promises a specific class and he promises to fill the boxes with a minimum number of kilos. The seller also gives a weight guarantee. He always delivers "a little more" and never "a little less.

Sortipack helps to not overshoot the minimum value. The sorting process proceeds at an impressive speed. Boxes of fresh material from the greenhouses first pass through a vision system that takes a 2D and 3D scan of each individual tomato. This scan is sufficient to classify the vegetables individually by color, size, weight and quality. In the next step, the actual sorting takes place at a rate of 20 thousand pieces per hour. In this process, delta robots pick up each beef tomato and transfer it to crates placed next to the lane. The destination crates contain each meat tomato of one specific class, with a weight that exceeds the minimum value as little as possible. This savings in give-away and labor provides an attractive return on investment.

"The system is available as a pay per use service, where customers make a small upfront investment and then pay a variable price for use. This also allows smaller growers to benefit from this innovative technology."

Charlotte Jannes

Serving smaller customers with pay per use

The availability of digital data on harvest, product quality and packaging gives growers even more benefits. Because of the available data, coming from each individual robot, a grower knows the daily production per badge. In the future, these can be translated into weather conditions and, for example, temperature in the greenhouse. Based on the actual yields, the Sortipack system also automatically makes suggestions to optimize the sorting classification based on parameters such as size, weight and product quality. The system is available as a pay per use service, where customers make a small upfront investment and then pay a variable price for use. "This also enables smaller growers to benefit from this innovative technology," Jannes said.

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If the initial benefits of measuring and data are clear then it almost always leads to more opportunities to add value or save costs afterwards. The SortiPack system from Crux Agribotics uses weight information primarily for sorting, but the data can also be used to get a better handle on the production process.

One of A Kind Technologies

One of A Kind Technologies

One of A Kind Technologies is a unique group of high-tech companies with complementary technology and individual growth potential.

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