In addition to developing the SortiPack® for beef tomatoes, (mini-)cucumbers, and sweet pointed peppers, Crux Agribotics launches a SortiPack® for chicory. The leafy vegetable which consumers can vary endlessly with in the kitchen and which, not unimportantly, contains lots of vitamins.

To efficiently weigh, sort and pack chicory in a system, Crux Agribotics developed a new SortiPack®. Typically, that process is currently done by many human hands and is prone to too much give-away weight.

SortiPack® assesses the individual chicory with computer vision and through weighing. The software algorithms create the ideal combination of the right number of products for a (flow-pack) package.

Chicory is a very fragile product. To create a sustainable system, Crux Agribotics developed a specific chicory gripper. This ensures that the chicory does not suffer any internal or external damage. The gripper is also smart. Depending on the location of the chicory and the approach of the robot, it determines whether the gripper approaches it from the left or the right. The packing of the chicory on the conveyor belt (infeed to the flowpacker) is also done in a very careful and product-friendly way.

In the attached video you can see the SortiPack® in action.

The SortiPack® Chicory saves on labor costs, which is an increasing challenge for growers and cooperatives. Increasing labour cost and, more often, a shortage of (good) labour are becoming an increasing challenged for the industry. Besides labor savings, the SortiPack® offers the advantage of reduced give-away weight (the excess weight of chicory per package). After all, the robot picks the ideal combination of chicory from a selection of 36 products. In addition, all this data is available to the grower and he therefore knows exactly what his production was, and what is packed for which customer. This data can also be used off-line for process control analysis. Recurring customer recipes or specific packing requirements can be entered into the robot in advance via the graphical user interface.

The SortiPack® Chicory can weigh, sort and pack up to 3000 chicory per robot per hour. With an average head weight of 125 grams, this corresponds to 375 kg per hour. If more robots are used, this results in a higher capacity and vice versa.

Multiple robots can be integrated in the processing lines at growers. The chicory robot can also be used for similar crops parsnips, sweet potatoes and sweet pointed peppers.

The weighing solution that is part of the SortiPack® Chicory was developed by the Dutch Weighing Company (DWC). DWC is also the international reseller for this product line.