Innovative automation solutions for agriculture are set to play a significant role in global food production, and ASA AUTOMATION is making a clear statement in this development.
Agriculture is rapidly evolving into a significant area of automation. The integration of new technologies promises higher efficiency and productivity while reducing labor costs. Experts predict significant growth in the use of precision farming, autonomous vehicles, and other automated systems in the near future. Mario Krämer, convinced of this trend, presented two different automation solutions at Agritechnica for the first time.
Pick & Place
In collaboration with the international partner S&B Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH, ASA presented an innovative picking cell that handles the product handling of 2-kilo CarryFresh bags filled with potatoes.
The demonstration included the pickup, grouping, and placement of the bags using an LR-Mate 200iD robot from Fanuc. Product position recognition is achieved through a 3DV/1600 sensor. Product handling is done using a soft gripper specially developed by ASA for handling potato bags. The robot receives the exact position for picking up the bags through the 3DV sensor in combination with the encoder attached to the conveyor belt. The system was equipped with two different handling programs. Program 1: Bag delivery in 40 x 60 cm folding crates (8 bags/crate), and Program 2: Grouping of bags on another conveyor belt (e.g., 3 bags side by side and 3 behind).
The second application was exhibited at the DLG booth, the German Agricultural Society. Here, ASA Automation showcased a visionary Vertical Farming concept licensed by the Fraunhofer Institute.
In contrast to previous indoor farming methods, this new generation of Vertical Farming introduces some process-related innovations. An integrated, wave-shaped conveyor belt system is used, which securely fixes the respective plants and continuously reorients them in space. Irrigation is done through an aeroponic irrigation system, and optimal plant lighting is ensured throughout the cultivation period through modular LED technology. To demonstrate the entire automation process at the fair, two collaborative robots from the CRX-10iA series by Fanuc were additionally deployed. At the inlet side of the system, one robot loaded the system with cuttings, which were inserted by the robot into pre-made holes on the conveyor belt system. At the outlet side of the system, the second robot unloaded the fully grown plants and directed them for further processing. Both robots were equipped with a Schunk gripper for their respective tasks. Learn more here: