Low cost and fully integrated Robotic fruit & vegetable handling & packing line for distributors

Lead Participant: Wootzano Limited

Abstract

UK consumers can be found scavenging amongst the boxes and empty shelves of the produce aisle. In the fields, fresh fruit and veg lay to waste. The agriculture industry heavily relied on seasonal overseas workers to bring in the crops but with Brexit, followed by a nationwide lockdown, workers are scarce.

As COVID-19 reaches over 1 million worldwide with no foreseeable end, long term measures need to be taken to ensure hunger doesn't add to the nation's concerns. Rising to the challenge are engineers in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Although not new to the industry, AI has enhanced the production of crops from collecting analytical data, sanitation, packaging and delivery. This allows farmers to do a lot more with a lot less. With labour shortages during these uncertain times, rapid development is needed to ensure the food security is maintained.

British fruit and vegetable packaging facilities are struggling and the answer lies in the rapid integration of robotic systems to pick and package fresh produce. At Wootzano, huge strides have been taken in a relatively short space of time. With the use of our new innovative Wootzkin technology, fruit and vegetable packaging facilities can reduce their reliance on manual human labour to do the dexterous jobs and can have more sustained and reliable robotic systems doing the job for them.

Millions of pounds are spent each year by these companies just to recruit temporary labour and even then they struggle to meet the demand. Using Wootzkin, a robot can feel and sense like humans do with their own skin. One robotic system can potentially replace at least 1 human worker and an expected ROI is around 1 year taking into account the increased productivity and more reliable packaging.

Despite the lack of workers, companies are not only able to meet demands, but also adjust to the increased pressure brought on the epidemic.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Wootzano Limited, Edinburgh £50,000 £ 50,000

Publications

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