- Open Calls
- Pitch Your Robot – 2023
Incorporating robots and vision in the food industry is generally a challenging task. Very strict cleaning requirements make delicate technical equipment a cumbersome task to implement. However, the food production industry is in need for automation and robotics to alleviate the strenuous and repetitive tasks that the operators, handling the food products, must perform.
At Daloon, the operator handles 20 tonnes of cabbage each day, for the decoring machine to subsequently remove the cabbage core. Since the machine does not have any knowledge about the size of the cabbage, more waste is generated than if the system was aware about the size of the cabbage and core.
This innovation experiment tries to focus on the two key parts in this workflow, namely the handling of the cabbages, and the guidance of the robot, such that the cabbage is oriented in the right direction before decoring. Technicon and DTI have collaborated on solving these two challenges. This has led to multiple innovative solutions; firstly, a food grade skin for the robot, for the robot to operate in the harsh environment. Secondly, a tool mounted on the robot arm for picking up and manipulating the cabbages to orient them with the core pointing up. Finally, an AI-assisted vision solution detects the cabbage and locates the core.
The system removes the need for an operator to handle the cabbages, and the decoring system now minimizes the waste from the decoring process, resulting in a highly automated and innovative solution.