PeterKouwenhoven is a company that is active in floriculture. They grow six different varieties of Anthuriums that are meant for the flower auction. This is done in a greenhouse that is 1100m2 big, so they can fully control the climate conditions.
In the current situation the Anthuriums are transported from the greenhouse to the warehouse. In the warehouse people sort flowers based on the size of the leaf, the quality of the leaf and the length of the strain. When they are sorted they go to the packaging point where someone else will insert a small bottle on the strain and a bag on the leaf. As a final step they sort the flowers on length of the sticks. And finally they will put the flowers side by side in a box.
After our first conversation with the client, we’ve decided to automate a few steps from the current situation and investigate what the possibilities are. We decided to take on the following steps in the process.
- Putting a bottle on the strain
- Putting a bag on the leaf
- When the flower is to bended put the flower away
- Picking up the flower
For the vision we decided to use smart functions. This keeps the software as reliable as possible. By combining different algorithms the vision can work under different light conditions. The greenhouse ambience has been taken into account while developing the suited solution for the vision system.
This machine will feed bottles to the robot. The bottles in machine will slide towards the end because a motor will resonate machine. the On the end of the machine there is a funnel attached. This funnel is designed to align the strain which is held by the robotic arm into a bottle.
Our next solution for packaging the flower is a bag station. It works with 2 pneumatic cylinders. One is for sealing the bag. And one is for cutting of the bag. The sealing and the cutting is done by a hot metal wire connected to a 12 Volt battery.
End Of Arm Tool
The end of arm tool has been 3D printed. On the contact surface with the flower we have added soft material so End Of Arm Tool does not damage the strain of the flower.
We made a demo setup where all the subsystems are connected to each other. This means, the system is not arranged how it would be in the current situation. The time to package one flower is now approximate 25 seconds. But this can easily be optimized by rearranging the station on a more optimal position.