The Horticulture Industry is one that depends on the constant production of crops to plant, grow and harvest produce. Demand continues to increase as populations grow. Automation solutions can help with production challenges that manufacturers and producers face today and will continue to challenge their methods of scaling in 2020. Canadian agricultural producers must navigate a future in which a strong production outlook and a growing need for labor coincide with a shrinking domestic labor pool and rising costs. Automation can create more efficient greenhouses due to decreased spacing and optimal space configurations as well as 24-hour harvesting schedules.
BP Automation, an Automation and engineering company in Edmonton, AB specializes in automation and robotics solutions to create more efficient production channels and reduce labor costs. This also reduces the number of errors created from manual and repetitive labor in the horticulture and agriculture industry.Click Here to read about Vertical Farming Benefits and Technology. https://www.wired.com/story/the-hydroponic-robotic-future-of-farming-in-greenhouses-at-iron-ox/>
Advantages of Robots in Horticulture
The latest article from Greenhouse Canada explains the sectors challenges for production. There are challenges when it comes to running robots and automation technology in a greenhouse environment, especially the humid environment that must be taken into consideration.
Types of Systems in the Horticulture Industry
Material handling systems allow for less manual labor and handling. Types of these systems include Cultivating robotics, harvesting robotics, and Spacing robotics.
Automated Cultivation systems allow robotics to help fertilize, water and move plants. Many of these systems allow users to manage their greenhouse from anywhere as well as view data. Iron Ox uses a robotic arm with cameras to transplant plants as they outgrow their current space. This arm has stereo cameras to detect the plants and then grabs the plants with a gripper that is custom-designed to fit the pods. The arm sits between two trays of different densities and eyeballs the plants, moving them from one tray and to another. They are also developing a machine with learning algorithms that will automatically detect diseased plants and boot them out of the system before the sickness spreads.
Harvesting robotics reduces the amount of manual labor needed when crops and plants becoming ready for harvest. Harvesting robots are able to go move down greenhouse aisles and identify ripe versus unripe plants, harvest them and place them in on-board boxing systems. They can also remove unwanted crops from the pack. The spread of disease can wipe out many healthy plants within the vicinity of the diseased ones.
Even tedious jobs such as spacing plants correctly when it comes to planting and seeding are now taken care of in the hands of spacing robotics. Certain crops require much more or less space than others. These repetitive tasks are the most and cannot provide the accuracy that a spacing robot can provide
Robotics will continue to play a large part in the next decade in the horticulture industry, especially vertical farming as well as the agriculture industry. If you are interested in learning more about automation or robotic technology contact us at BP Automation for all of your needs.