Pot-Moving Automation From Harvest Automation Tested At Metrolina

Harvest Automation robot

Metrolina Greenhouses is trialing robots from Harvest Automation for plant handling for indoor and outdoor production. Scroll down for video of the testing.

Four units of the pot-moving robots are being tested by Metrolina, which is considering using them to consolidate and space remaining pots after shipments go out. The robots can also be used to respace in a tight configuration for collection, says Harvest Automation CEO Charlie Grinnell. Grinnell came from iRobot, the original innovators behind the vacuum robot Roomba, and are now taking up automation in horticulture.

Harvest Automation has been testing the pot-moving robots for the last 18 months, working toward perfecting a model in which several smaller machines work together in teams. This way, small operations can buy just a few of the robots, while larger ones can buy more to serve a larger production area. 

“We thought it would be a much better idea to come up with a small machine, which would have many advantages,” Grinnell says. “If we built a small machine that could work in teams, small growers could buy just a couple or a big grower could buy a hundred of them. It also gives you the flexibility to work in lots of environments and configurations.”

Art Van Wingerden tells Greenhouse Grower that the units are battery-operated, and a charge lasts about five to six hours. The unit comes with two batteries, so one can be charged while one is in use. The lip of flood floors can be used as the boundaries for the robots or a reflective tape (as seen in the video below) can be used.

“[The robots can be used] any time a plant needs to be moved around, whether it’s the initial spacing just off the potting line and goes out to the field,” Grinnell says. “One of our customers is using forklifts, so they never have to touch the plants. They’re coming off the line and going onto a trailer. Then a forklift picks the plants off the trailer and puts them onto the ground. That’s where our robots take over.” The robots can also be used for consolidating and collecting plants to ship.

The robots are designed to move pots in sizes from 1- to 5-gallon containers, but Grinnell has found they can also handle some 7-gallon containers. Design work is being done to handle smaller containers.

Grinnell says Harvest Automation has worked hard to develop controls that have a simple graphical interface and that do not require a technical background to use effectively. The user decides the type and size of container to be moved, the distance between plants and the pattern to place them. At the first commercial site, between 15 and 20 field and greenhouse workers used the controls and feedback has been positive.

Harvest Automation shipped the first commercial units in September and is now accepting deposits and working on availability for Q1 2013.

The next step for Harvest Automation will be automating everything in between placing plants in the greenhouse and ship time — pesticide and insecticide application, inventory tracking and grading. Grinnell says testing for these new applications should begin in late 2013. 

 

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Pot-Moving Automation From Harvest Automation Tested At Metrolina

More From Equipment...
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More
Argus Multi-Feed RM - feature

March 26, 2017

Feeding System Allows For More Precise Delivery of Nutrients in Greenhouses

Argus Controls’ Multi-Feed RM100 is designed to help producers custom-feed their plants based on specific nutrient recipes.

Read More
Emerald Coast Growers Seed RoomTight feature

March 22, 2017

An Inside Look at Emerald Coast Growers’ New Seed House

Florida-based liner producer Emerald Coast Growers custom retrofitted and expanded an existing greenhouse, with the goal of increasing production efficiency.

Read More
Latest Stories
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More
Argus Multi-Feed RM - feature

March 26, 2017

Feeding System Allows For More Precise Delivery of Nutr…

Argus Controls’ Multi-Feed RM100 is designed to help producers custom-feed their plants based on specific nutrient recipes.

Read More
Emerald Coast Growers Seed RoomTight feature

March 22, 2017

An Inside Look at Emerald Coast Growers’ New Seed…

Florida-based liner producer Emerald Coast Growers custom retrofitted and expanded an existing greenhouse, with the goal of increasing production efficiency.

Read More
Pic-O-Mat Vision system feature

March 3, 2017

How Growers Can Make the Most of Automation

A Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Grower says investing in automation can reap several long-term benefits, as long as you do so for the right reasons.

Read More
Visser PC 16 Transplanter feature

February 13, 2017

How to Find a Greenhouse Transplanter for Every Grower&…

Equipment manufacturers have recognized a void in the market for machinery that appeals to growers of all sizes and budgets. Here are some affordable options to consider investing in to improve your operation’s efficiency.

Read More
ISO Cutting Machine

February 4, 2017

Getting to the Next Generation of Greenhouse Automation

The most successful growers in the future will be those that are willing to accept and invest in new technology.

Read More
DRAMM PulsFOG

February 1, 2017

DRAMM: 75 Years of Innovation

This manufacturer and distributor of horticultural tools and equipment has a long history of developing inventive new technology that solves problems for its customers.

Read More
Botany Lane Greenhouses

January 27, 2017

Why Botany Lane Grows Poinsettias On Capillary Mats

A move to watering mats cut water and fertilizer use, production time, and labor for this Colorado-based grower.

Read More
Ever Bloom Robot Sprayer feature

January 23, 2017

New Automation Systems Improve Spraying and Harvesting

In response to increasing regulations on labor, Ever-Bloom Inc. decided to invest in new automation technology that also dramatically improves efficiency.

Read More
Bouldin and Lawson Precision Needle Seeder feature

January 19, 2017

How You Can Get More Precise With Your Seeder

Bouldin & Lawson’s Precision Needle Seeder is designed to improve accuracy when sowing small, difficult seeds.

Read More
north-creek-nurseries-gutter-connected-greenhouse-feature

November 23, 2016

How Greenhouse Technology At North Creek Nurseries Expe…

The new structure is the latest step in a lean flow efficiency process designed to help the company cut waste, drive down shrink, and increase profits.

Read More
greenpower-led-production-module-philips-lighting

October 18, 2016

Lighting Research Center Is Surveying Growers On Supple…

The Center, part of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is looking for commercial growers to participate in an online survey regarding supplemental greenhouse lighting.

Read More
Chemical hopper

October 3, 2016

New Soil Mix Technology Generates High-Precision Greenh…

Advancements in soil mixers help growers achieve the highest level of automation and efficiency to create the ideal growing media for every type of crop.

Read More
Floricultura Bench Pulling System

July 31, 2016

Automation Saves Labor And Space At Floricultura Pacifi…

This Salinas, CA, orchid grower brings plants to its workers through automation that saves valuable time and takes full advantage of available growing space.

Read More
Harvest Automation HV 100 Feature

May 27, 2016

Harvest Automation Robot Helps You Move Plants Without …

The Harvest Automation HV-100 robot units use lasers and sensors to handle some of the most labor-intensive tasks in the greenhouse.

Read More
HV-100 Robots (Harvest Automation)

May 3, 2016

Harvest Automation Makes Strong Commitment To Greenhous…

The company recently announced it is selling off its robotic warehouse automation business to focus more on providing robotic materials handling to the greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit markets.

Read More
Priva Tomato Deleafing Robot

March 22, 2016

Priva Developing Deleafing Robot For Tomatoes

The deleafing robot, which is designed to mimic the performance of a human while being economically viable, will be tested and evaluated by Dutch growers later this year.

Read More

February 23, 2016

How Light Diffusion Works In The Greenhouse

Ken Aguilar of SolaWrap Films shares how light diffusion technology offers many benefits for greenhouse crops.

Read More