May 2013

Banana patch robots within ten years | FreshPlaza

May 27, 2013 by John Payne

“Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney, Salah Sukkarieh, is a keynote speaker at the Banana Industry Congress and will tell growers there is significant untapped potential for the use of robots that work outdoors to provide information and support to banana farmers.”


Australia eyes high-tech farm help to grow food | Reuters

May 27, 2013 by John Payne

SYDNEY (Reuters) – “Moving carefully along a row of appletrees, two of Australia’s newest agricultural workers check if the fruit is ripe or the soil needs water or fertilizer. Meet “Mantis” and “Shrimp”, agricultural robots being tested to do these tasks and more in a bid to cut costs and …”


Robot tractors in Australia within five years

ABC Online-May 28, 2013

Driverless tractors could be making their way onto Australian farms within five years, according one of the country’s key grain research bodies. The Grains

April 2013

UAVs for Agricultural Weed Control

Posted 3 Apr 2013

Precision Agriculture is a hot topic these days as researchers look for ways to reduce the massive amounts of chemicals that are currently sprayed on food crops. A new research paper describes one of the ways robots may help in Early Season Site-Specific Weed Management (ESSWM). In the study, a UAV equipped with a multispectral camera collected images of sunflower field infested with naturally occurring weeds. Similar imaging techniques using traditional satellite and aerial methods to adjust herbicide distribution have yielded up to 50% reduction in the total amounts of herbicides used. The researchers hope to replicate this process using the less expensive flying robot. From the paper: Weeds are distributed in patches within crops and this spatial structure allows mapping infested-uninfested areas and herbicide treatments can be developed according to weed presence. The main objectives of this research were to deploy an UAV equipped with either, RBG or multispectral cameras, and to analyze the technical specifications and configuration of the UAV to generate images at different altitudes with the high spectral resolution required for the detection and location of weed seedlings in a sunflower field for further applications of ESSWM. Due to its flexibility and low flight altitude, the UAV showed ability to take ultra-high spatial resolution imagery and to operate on demand according to the flight mission planned.

Automation – Replacing muscle power

Horticulture Week-4 hours ago

Automation and robotics are revolutionising horticultural production. Investment in automation and robotics, while initially expensive, is ultimately more

Chinese Restaurant Owner Says Robot Noodle Maker Doing “A

Singularity Hub-by Peter Murray-Apr 19, 2013

The repetitive action that goes into preparing certain foods such as noodles makes automation an obvious choice. In Japan robots are already being used to

March 2013

Coriolis: millions wasted on badly planned automation Rod Addy-Mar 7, 2013

While full automation made sense for the large scale production of standardised products, it was too often seen as the panacea for all food production, rather


Japan’s Robot Renaissance (Fukushima’s Silver Lining)

All of Japan took a few moments Monday to pay respect to the losses suffered in the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster of March 11, 2011. As human beings we move forward, and we work to find the good even in terrible situations. In that spirit, this piece is not a memorial, but hopefully a brief insight into how a terrible natural disaster has invigorated Japan’s robotics industry and brought to light a problem affecting all industrialized societies. In the first hours and days, when it became clear that a severe nuclear disaster was not only possible at Fukushima, but probably inevitable, response teams and all related oversight bodies desperately needed to know just how bad things were. With lethal levels of radiation building and collecting in the plant, it obviously had to be robots, and surely they’d be sent in right away. As soon as possible, right? Well, about a week after the initial disaster, Boston, Massachusetts-based iRobot sent four robots and a team of six specialists to assist with orientation and training at Fukushima. iRobot is well-known for the Roomba cleaning robot, but they also make the battle-tested PackBot and Warrior, the first robots to enter and inspect the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster site… John Payne‘s insight: “Another way in which Japanese robotics is benefitting from the aftermath of the disaster is that some of the land in the radioactive exclusion zone has been made available for the development of agricultural robots.”


February 2013

Drone Boosters Say Farmers, Not Cops, Are the Biggest U.S. Robot Market

Spencer Ackerman, 02.05.13

When the flying robots that loiter in Afghanistan’s and Yemen’s airspace come home, they won’t just be headed for the local police station. They might prefer a pastoral existence of spraying crops, scanning soil patterns and other features of America’s farms. No, Predators and Reapers aren’t going to scan large swaths of vegetation for suspected militants. And there’s tremendous interest from state and local law enforcement in drones as surveillance tools. But to Chris Mailey, a vice president with the drone promotion organization known as AUVSI, the cop shops represent short money. “Agriculture,” Mailey tells Danger Room, “is gonna be the big market.”


Yogurt boom means boom times for Atlas Automation

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle-Feb 20, 2013

‘The yogurt expansion that started four years ago, we were kind of on the ground floor of that,’ says Atlas Automation President Joe Scarfone. The company


January 2013

Innovative machine for filling and packaging ice cream from Staubli


Presentation plays a crucial role in the industrial production of ice cream. Even in large size containers, the product needs to look like a handmade delicacy. The brand new Robot Filler succeeds in doing this perfectly, as the pilot use of the machine in Bangkok demonstrates. Based in Edertal near Kassel, Big Drum Engineering GmbH specialises in the manufacture of equipment for the filling and packaging of ice cream. Its innovative machines make it possible to produce a wide variety of ice creams (with the exception of those on a stick) quickly and economically. Big Drum machines have a production capacity of up to 50,000 tubs per hour.

December 2012

ABB Robots at Work at Honeytop

The company’s flexpicker robots dramatically impact production and changeover time

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Dec 26, 2012

After three weeks of production, a brand-new product was introduced in less than an hour without the need for any new investment from Honeytop.” FOOD AND BEVERIDGE PACKAGING: Robots help packagers work more efficiently, increasing output and reducing change over time. But they address hygiene concerns too. One company in the UK saw firsthand the benefits of automation, which helped the pancake producer streamline its packaging process.

Horticulture Specialists and Robotics Engineers Team Up to Automate Australian Agriculture

Perception of Australia as the future “food bowl” for the Asian market is driving innovation

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Dec 13, 2012

Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems Salah Sukkarieh at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies leads a team that is developing robotic devices with the ability to autonomously sense, analyse and respond to their own surroundings.

This Milk Production Was Brought To You By A Robot

NPR (blog)-Dec 28, 2012

We all have an inkling of how our food is grown these days, but increasingly we don’t really know what it looks like. You’d probably recognize a tomato plant or a

November 2012

Fast Food: Another Robotic Frontier

Posted 10/08/12 at 02:31 PM

… A machine that makes a 10.5” pizza from scratch in 2.5 minutes is beginning to appear in malls, student unions and other public places in Europe.
… A cupcake ATM machine created long lines at a Beverly Hills cupcake store and will soon be showing up in Chicago and New York too.
… And robotic arms are dispensing frozen yogurt and ice cream and sprinkling them with various toppings.
… All have simple-to-use order entry and payment screens and all let the user see what’s going on inside the machine.
… Read the details and get the company names here.


Automation Reaches French Vineyards With A Vine-Pruning Robot

Singularity Hub-Nov 26, 2012

Now that Wall-Ye V.I.N. has been built we can rest assured that there are no jobs too sacred to be handed over to the automated expertise of robots. Wall-Ye is a


October 2012

Agricultural technology: A killer app

Oct 23rd 2012, 2:48 from Babbage

LETTUCE is California’s main vegetable crop. The state grew $1.6 billion-worth of the leafy plant in 2010 and accounts for more than 70% of all lettuce grown in America, itself the world’s second-biggest exporter of the stuff. It is a fiddly business. Not only does lettuce need to be fertilised and weeded, but also “thinned” so that good plants do not grow too close to each other, inhibiting growth. Much of this is still done by hand. Labourers, who tend to be paid per acre, not per hour, have little incentive to pay close attention to what they pull from the ground, often leading to unnecessary waste.  Enter Lettuce Bot, the brainchild of Stanford-trained engineers, Jorge Heraud and Lee Redden. Their diligent robotic labourer, pulled behind a tractor, takes pictures of passing plants. Computer-vision algorithms devised by Mr Redden compare these to a database of more than a million images, taken from different angles against different backdrops of soil and other plants, that he and Mr Heraud have amassed from their visits to lettuce farms. A simple shield blocks out the Californian sun to prevent odd shading from confounding the software. 

Agricultural technology: Robots in the shrubbery

Sep 7th 2012, 2:11 from Babbage

EVEN in the developed world farming can be a labour-intensive business, relying on lots of migrant workers. Cereal agriculture is heavily mechanised, with one combine harvester taking over from hundreds of labourers, but other tasks have proven difficult to automate. That is changing. Meet Harvey, otherwise known as Harvest Vehicle HV-100. This is the first agricultural robot from Harvest Automation, a firm based in Massachusetts. It will work in horticulture where the traditional sources of cheap labour are becoming scarcer, in part because of changing demographics and immigration laws.

Robots That Pick Fruit

New types of robots are being developed for harvesting oranges, strawberries and other produce.

10/11/12 , WSJ, By OWEN FLETCHER


Noodle-Making Chef Catches on in China

By Robotics Trends’ News Sources – Filed Oct 16, 2012

In the face of rising labor costs, Chinese restauranteur Cui Runguan is selling thousands of robots that can hand slice noodles into a pot of boiling water called the Chef Cui.

Fruit-Picking Robot Addresses Human Labor Shortage

10/02/12 — It’s sunrise at Hayden Farms in Pasco. Chatter of birds nearby. But on Wednesday morning, wheels, tubes and exhaust cram the orchard.It’s called the DBR. It stands for Dietrich, Brown and Rasch, the last names of the engineers of the machine. It’s robo-farmer of sorts. A newly-engineered machine to assist…

Autonomous robot swarm takes over farm work

New Scientist (blog)-Oct 26, 2012

Move over farmers: soon a swarm of robots could take over all the hard labour. A new robot developed by David Dorhout and colleagues from Dorhout R&D is

September 2012

Down on the farm, Lettuce Bot is quietly slaying weeds

By Tim Hornyak, CNET, Sep 14, 2012

Blue River is working on an agricultural robot that can ID undesirable plants and dispatch them. It could help reduce the cost of organic produce.

This Weed-Killing Robot Dispatches Dandelions with 98 Percent Accuracy

September 13, 2012 – A prototype weed-seeking automaton could change the way seven billion humans eat, as well as help to end industrial agriculture’s reliance on toxic herbicides and itinerant labor.

Wall-Ye Robot Is In Your Vineyard, Prunin’ Your Vines

Evan Ackerman  /  Thu, September 27, 2012

Ah, booze. The only thing it’s (generally) missing is the sweet and vaguely servo-y taste of robotics. A little robot named Wall-Ye is trying to get involved in the process from the ground up by helping out in vineyards in France, meaning that we’ll get to add “robotolicious” to the official list of wine descriptors.

July-Aug. 2012

Automation to increase farmers yields by 13 per cent

The Standard Digital News-8 hours ago

Software development firm Virtual City is targeting grain farmers with mobile technology aimed at automating processes from farm to market, in an effort to get


Robot Learns to Pick the Sweetest, Ripest Strawberries

Wired News-Aug 6, 2012

Richard Dudley imagines a world where strawberries grow in perfect rows and every day a robot army tastes their colors before harvesting the ripe ones.


Robotic Milkers on Ohio Farm

07/13/12 — That would not have seemed possible 40 or 50 years ago, or even 20 or 30 years ago. But four of these new robots are now milking cows on the Denmandale Farm in Johnson Township. Denmandale Farm is owned and operated by Davis and Betty Denman and their family, daughter…


June 2012

Laser-Scanning Robotic Butcher Cuts the Perfect Slices

06/18/12 — It can’t recommend the ideal cut of beef for your next backyard BBQ, but thanks to a laser scanner that’s able to generate a 3D model, Nantsune’s Libra 165C robo-butcher will quickly cut up a piece of meat into perfect fixed-weight slices. Previous automated methods involved weighing every single slice…

Robots Are Coming To A Farm Near You

06/05/12 — PBS—In the Star Wars movies, moisture farmers on dry planets like Tattoine use droids to help with the repetitive, back-breaking labor, but that’s in a galaxy far, far away. There’s no doubt that robots are cool, but are robots on farms far off in our future? Actually, the future is already…

Kraft Foods Teams with CKF Systems for Robot Efficiencies

06/22/12 — Gloucester-based CKF Systems has designed, installed and commissioned a new automated re-circulating system for Kraft Foods at its Bournville production facility. Kraft recognized that a significant increase in efficiencies could be achieved through the introduction of an automated robot distribution system for its popular Roses and Heroes products. It was also realized that the investment would also benefit the company’s ongoing commitment to the Kraft Foods Sustainability Program– substantially reducing material usage by replacing cardboard boxes with reusable plastic tote bins and cutting daily vehicle movements through more accurate management of fixed cycling schedules. “The complexity and size of the…

May 2012

Australia’s First Robotic Dairy

05/15/12 — Australia’s first robotic rotary dairy has been opened in a commercial pilot farm in Quamby Brook, Tasmania. The Dornauf family, which owns the dairy farm, had agreed to install the Automatic Milking Rotary (AMR), which has been manufactured and installed by Swedish dairy equipment company DeLaval. FutureDairy project in Australia,…


Robotic Planes, Tractors Loom Behind Autonomous Cars

05/04/12 — Mary Cummings, a professor of aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was interviewed today at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference in New York, where she offered her views on the state of the art in autonomous vehicles. The work of Google and automakers has shown how cars can drive…


Humans No Match For RoboButcher In $23B Poultry Industry

Big-bang innovation in poultry processing may hold an answer; big bang meaning revolutionary, disruptive change, something that redefines the productivity landscape of today’s annual 50 billion pound, $23 billion poultry processing industry. (May 21, 2012)


Robots Can Perform Surgery, But Can They Debone a Chicken?

‎Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2012 By CAMERON MCWHIRTER

ATLANTA—Robots fly aircraft into war and help doctors perform surgeries. Gary McMurray has spent eight years getting a robot to debone a chicken. … Now, after pecking away since 2004, the chief of the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s food processing technology division and his team plan a test in June of what he calls a “revolutionary” prototype chicken-deboning robot. The Institute works with industry and the military to find dull, dirty tasks that could be performed by a robot, Mr. McMurray says. This machine, equipped with robotic arms and a surgical blade, is guided by a three-dimensional imaging system that can determine in a split second the size of each chicken and where its skin, meat and bone are, Mr. McMurray says. They have already shown the robot to industry groups, and now are running the test to make sure it can cut meat off a chicken as quickly and efficiently as a man with a knife can.

Jan. – April 2012

Agricultural Robotics at European Robotics Forum 2012

16 Apr 2012, John_RobotsPodcast

Among the many topics discussed at the European Robotics Forum 2012, was the application of robotics technology to agriculture. In a press release posted on the European Robotics Technology Platform website, Prof. Simon Blackmore, head of Engineering at Harper Adams University College is quoted as saying

We’ve started with a clean sheet of paper. We’re re-evaluating the whole approach to agriculture. At the moment, crops are drilled in straight rows to suit machines, but what if they were drilled to follow the contours of the land, or to take account of the micro level environmental conditions within a portion of a field? The potential boost to production we could generate if harvests were staggered to suit the crop rather than mechanisation is immense. We’re talking about micro tillage, mechanical weeding and planting using small, smart, autonomous, modular machines.

Demonstrations of working machines were provided by the University of Copenhagen, the University of Southern Denmark, Wageningen University, and the University of Kaiserslautern. There’s much more in the press release.

Read more…

New Generation of Robots Poised to Transform Global Agriculture

04/16/12 — “We’ve started with a clean sheet of paper”, commented Blackmore. “We’re re-evaluating the whole approach to agriculture. At the moment, crops are drilled in straight rows to suit machines, but what if they were drilled to follow the contours of the land, or to take account of the micro level environmental conditions within a portion of a field? The potential boost to production we could generate if harvests were staggered to suit the crop rather than mechanisation is immense. We’re talking about micro tillage, mechanical weeding and planting using small, smart, autonomous, modular machines.” Delegates at the Forum saw demonstrator…


Hygienic Robots Getting More Food Prep Jobs

04/10/12 — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six people in the United States gets sick from eating contaminated food each year. Foodborne illness is blamed for about 3,000 deaths annually. With 19 states currently in a sushi Salmonela alert and memories still fresh on Germany’s deadly…



June – Dec. 2011

Solar Powered Crop Harvesting Robot

Posted 11 Oct 2011 at 20:04 UTC by steve

The winner of last month’s Intel India Embedded Challenge was the solar powered crop harvesting robot pictured above. A better shot of the robot itself can be found in The Hindu. The winning entry was developed by T J David and Kudikala Shravan Kumar of the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad, India. The robot requires just 500 Watts of power, which can be supplied by on-board solar panels or from the grid. It can be adjusted to harvest a variety of crop types at 80% less cost than conventional harvesting machines. An Indian Tech Online article provides this description of the robot:

The invented machine comprises a lightweight metal chassis, having a low friction cutter bar with a dual edge cutting blade, without requiring a pressure plate to minimise energy losses. The self-balancing cutter bar remains suspended on the ground without requiring manual balancing of the machine, as compared to conventional systems. The machine can manoeuvre in all kinds of farm field terrains, whether wet or dry. It has a two wheeled drive mechanism that can revolve 360° in either direction.

It’s also worth noting that the robot relies on an Intel Atom processor. Intel has posted more photos and a look at the other IEC winners the Intel India Embedded Challenge 2011 Summary (PDF format)

Harvest Automation Beta Testing Robot Farmers

Evan Ackerman  /  Tue, November 15, 2011

We’ve been following Harvest Automation for a couple years now, since they’ve got a bunch of ex-iRobot people on board and they started out in stealth mode, which is a combination that’s just inviting wild speculation. The plant has been out of the pot for a while, though, since Harvest Automation was revealed in 2008 to be primarily interested in, um, the automation of harvesting. Surprise?

Presenting The Robot Farmers Of The Future

Business Insider – Dec 27, 2011

Iowa inventor David Dorhout is working on a swarm of robots that could revolutionize agriculture (via Global Macro Monitor). The prototype “Prospero” is a



Feb. – May  2011

Prospero, an Autonomous Micro Planter

28 Feb 2011 at 20:33 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

A forum post on shows what’s called a an Autonomous Micro Planter (AMP), a small, six-legged robot named Prospero, that’s capable of drilling seed holes and depositing seeds in them. The forum post includes two YouTube videos and several photos. The author of the post, David Dorhout, describes this category of machine as the first of four steps, saying The other three steps involve autonomous robots that tend the crops, harvest them, and finally one robot that can plant, tend, and harvest–autonomously transitioning from one phase to another. Prospero was designed for a contest sponsored by SchmartBoard and placed first in the Parallax MCU segment (there were also TI and MicroChip MCU segments). The forum post links to a PDF which explains the project in detail, including source code.

Robotic farms – Hortiplan mobile gully system

Posted 1 Feb 2011 at 13:44 UTC by mwaibel

I.K.Erripis from the Robots Podcast has sent some pointers on how robotics in agriculture is revolutionizing the way our food is produced. Greenhouses are transformed by robot applications and many companies apply advanced technology in order to improve production and the product. One of them is shown in a video recently posted by our friends over at the Singularity Hub and reposted above. It shows that Belgian company Hortiplan won’t just sell you one or several robots to operate your greenhouse. Instead, Hortiplan will convert it into one huge robot. Their mobile gully system (MGS) is an integrated installation that automatically moves the plants through four stages, a nursery, a centralized planting area, an automated growing field and finally to the centralized harvest area. The plants are handled in and out of gullies and they grow through a “Nutrient Film Technique” (NFT) recirculating water system, where water with nutrients flows continuously through the plants. There are multiple benefits of this system: Production is increased, the requirements for human labor are reduced and the installation saves time and space for a given yield. The plants, (e.g., lettuce) are also picked up with their roots attached and by being alive they remain fresh for a longer time.

Nestlé identifies its future automation strategies

Packaging Digest – Lisa McTigue Pierce – May 4, 2011

Nestlé’s automation strategy historically was based on process control. This is where Nestlé and other companies in the CPG segment own the technology and …

Robots for Food and Drink


In the food and beverage industry, those who most efficiently pack and ship specialty orders win. In this blog about robots for food and beverage applications, RIA examines some of the drivers and considerations for choosing robots for food and beverage applications. Click here for the blog: Robots for Food and Drink


January 2011

Robots: Harvest Automation, January 14th, 2011

In today’s episode we look at a new market in robotics with huge potential, agriculture. With us, Joe Jones, co-founder of Harvest Automation and father of the Roomba.


December 2010

Strawberry-picking robot knows when they’re ripe

December 13, 2010 Posted by Tim Hornyak

Japan prepares to unleash a strawberry-harvesting robot on the world.


Robot’s singular job: Cutting flesh from pig bone

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 Posted by Matt Hickey

Some people are scared of clowns, some of zombies. I’m scared of giant robots with knives programmed to slice meat from a pig’s thigh.


Entwistle’s of Ramsbottom sets one-year target to double sauce production – ‎12/13/10

While Entwistle said that Lancashire Sauce was looking into taking on another team member, he stressed that the investment in automation was intended to …


November 2010

Robotic Milker Offers Cow Freedom

8 Nov 2010, Rog-a-matic,

The new A4 robotic cow milker by Lely offers the cow a simple walk-through design reducing unnecessary stress and maximizing output. Size and motion of the cow and its vital parts are monitored by a 3D camera system which provides precise data to control the robot arm and cleaning devices. Various sensors and specialized software monitor the milk flow and provide real-time data about the fluid content so optimum milk quality and cow health are maintained. The modular system can serve both family farms and larger producers. Video, Brochure PDF.

After milk revolution, India enters into hi-tech Dairy era

Commodity Online – ‎Nov 3, 2010‎

This cow farm will be one of the world’s finest facilities integrating the best of automation and mechanisation, hygiene and quality standards and genetic

Spraying set to become more automated

10/29/2010 – Farmers Weekly

Telematics, GPS and tractor-implement automation are just a few of the technological developments set to revolutionise how operators spray in the future, according to those attending an Association of Applied Biologists (AAB) workshop last week.


Spraying set to become more automated

FarmersWeekly – Emily Padfield – ‎Oct 29, 2010‎

As legislation tightens it’s grip and factors like the Water Framework Directive come into force, herbicide and pesticide application is going to come under ever increasing levels of scrutiny.

Recession spurs faster replacement of workers with technology

Columbus Dispatch – Alana Semuels – ‎Nov 1, 2010‎

Automation means Young no longer needs large crews of farmworkers to plant or harvest – and no more worrying about immigration status, pay or benefits.



October 2010

Robot milks cows for all they’re worth

3News NZ – ‎Oct 20, 2010‎

By Dave Goosselink Four robot milking machines are helping a Southland dairy farm to produce record quantities of milk. Apparently, the cows are quite taken

Robot farmers display cutting-edge technology for Japan’s aging farming population

Mainichi Daily News – ‎Oct 8, 2010‎

A prototype robot moves around a field planting rice seedlings in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Oct. 7. (Mainichi) TSUKUBA, Ibaraki — Researchers have unveiled a group of prototype robots that can handle rice-field farming tasks from fertilization to harvesting.

Automatic Cake Decorator

10/05/10,Christina Bonnington

Mischer’traxler’s automatic cake decorator uses a rotating platform to draw a flowery, spirograph-like design on its cakes. As a final touch, the mechanical arm drops sugar-pearls across the cake’s surface.


September 2010

Robot-ready cows on the auction block

Oxford Review – Elliot Ferguson – ‎Sep 17, 2010‎

For the past month, the cows were at the show’s dairy pavilion, being trained to be milked by robot milking machines.

Food manufacturers invest in automation

IGD Supply Chain Analysis – ‎Sep 1, 2010‎

Food and drink manufacturers in the UK are increasing their investment in automation and robotic equipment during 2010, according to new data

Retrotech Completes Cargill Automation Project (press release) – ‎Sep 1, 2010‎

Retrotech®, Inc, a specialist in the modernization and optimization of automated material handling equipment, recently completed the integration of a new automated box handling and shipping system for Cargill Meat Solutions’ Schuyler, Neb., beef processing plant, replacing a manually operated system. The new system, which went live as scheduled over two consecutive weekends, was made possible due to a unique partnership between the two firms. This partnership has evolved over the last decade as the two firms have collaborated on multiple projects for Cargill, including the company’s Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kansas, and Plainview, Texas facilities.


August 2010

Robot suit for old Japanese grower nearing completion.

FreshPlaza – ‎Aug 27, 2010‎

Thanks to the robot, physically hard work like picking apples becomes easier. The farmer doesn’t have to hold his arm up himself but is helped by the suit.

Robots Take Over Food Manufacturing

Food and Drink Digital – Chris Farnell 

Food and drink manufacturers purchased more automation and robotic equipment than the car sector in the second quarter of 2010

The food and drink sector has been buying in a great deal of packing, palletizing and handling equipment , according to a quarterly survey of members of the British Automation and Robotics Association. The Robotics Association found that the food and drink sector accounted for 17 percent of all robotics sales, making it second only to the pharmaceuticals industry. Sales of robotic equipment in the first half of the year are up 55 percent on 2009, the first time sales in the first half of the year have grown since 2006. BARA President Mike Wilson said: “Sales to food and drink companies have grown by 172 percent since 2006 and it is now a major sector for robot applications in the UK. We expect that growth to continue throughout the rest of the year as more UK food and drink manufacturers look to close the productivity gap with their European competitors.” Julian Hunt, Director of Communications at the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Despite the hugely challenging economic climate, this survey provides further proof that our industry has continued to invest heavily both in new factories and higher productivity. We have put in strong foundations on which we can build as the country emerges from recession.”

Wine Robot Modernizes Wine Industry

Buzz Blab – Honeylynn Inocencio – Aug 8, 2010

A vine-pruning robot has been labeled as the next invention to revolutionalize New Zealand wine industry.This robot is presently developed in Christchurch

Modern Agriculture Through Robotics

Tech2 – ‎Jul 28, 2010‎

AGRIBOT is a self-directed agricultural robot powered by solar energy. It can control various aspects of farming like ploughing and leveling, seed sowing, …


Czech meat processor calls in Cryovac

Control Engineering UK Online – ‎Aug 10, 2010‎

A Czech meat company claims to have dramatically improved quality and sales by overhauling packaging systems at its processing plant. Kostelecké uzeniny turned to Cryovac for packaging automation to meet a demand to package its products in shrinkable films.Located in the Vysočina region, Kostelecké uzeniny is the largest meat and meat products manufacturing company in the Czech Republic with a market share of approximately seven per cent. The company’s product range includes fresh pork, beef and poultry. The flagship product is fermented salami covered with fine natural mould. The company’s annual sales amount to approximately €150 million, with ten per cent for export to Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. It supplies multinational chains, as well as retail associations and traditional markets. Recently, the company upgraded from standard shrink bags to high performance shrinkable films and automation. Sealed Air Cryovac provided the solution with Cryovac RS2000 film running with the innovative Cryovac Ulma Flow-Vac system. Kostelecké installed the FV45 that is based on horizontal form-fill-seal technology operating at very high speeds and loading into Cryovac vacuum equipment. The new packaging system immediately provided various advantages. The low impact investment in automation adding to an already existing flat belt vacuum chamber allowed a user-friendly and flexible change with substantial benefits, such as improved meat quality, longer shelf life thanks to shrinking and vacuum properties, or better pack appearance due to the Flow-Vac automatic adaptation of bag length to product length.


Chemelil eyes automation in bid to boost efficiency

Business Daily Africa – Steve Mbogo – ‎Jul 14, 2010‎

Chemelil Sugar Company plans to automate its cane processing unit to boost efficiency in cane crushing, extract more sucrose and cut operating costs as it prepares for competition from imports from the COMESA region in less than two years. “We have given automation of our boilers the priority,” said Managing Director Edward Musebe. It was however not clear how much money the company plans to use for the project. Kenya’s sugar millers are partially protected from competition from cheaper imports –despite a sugar supply deficit – in a deal that applies across the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, to help millers improve their efficiency ahead of its 2012 expiry. The deal was necessary because the cost of Kenyan made sugar is twice that of the world market. Opening the local market to imports at this time would effectively kill the local industry that benefits millions of cane farmers. The automation of Chemelil is expected to trigger similar cost-cutting measures in other factories that have not done so and will most likely result in reduction of employment opportunities especially for unskilled labourers.



July 2010

Cultibotics: literally green robotics

John Payne on 04 Jul 2010

The application of robotics to ecologically robust crop production has been a long-term interest of mine (see ), long enough that I’ve had plenty of opportunity for despair at the slow pace of progress. That situation now seems to be turning around. I am aware of a few examples of relevant projects, but would greatly appreciate assistance in accumulating others.