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Golden Acre Farms is a modern cucumber farm in Ontario Canada, of nearly 10 hectares high-tech greenhouses build in 2011.
The company is located in Kingsville and has invested to optimize the efficiency, cost and labor intensity. According to the owner, Louis Chibante, this is the way forward for the sector.
A fully automatic trolley unloading and reloading installation was designed for Golden Acre Farms. The system runs completely autonomously with extreme efficiency. The whole system offers greatest respect to vulnerable freshly pick produce and results in great savings both financially as well as in space requirements.
Through introduction of this system it is no longer necessary for workers to perform heavy labor.
This grower is harvesting English cucumbers in tapered containers, which will be placed onto trolleys on the concrete path before transporting these to the pack house. Position of the containers is random on the cart and since the trolleys have a mesh wire bottom, the containers are all over the place.
Still the unloading of trolleys and all further handling needed to be automated. For space efficiency it was a demand to stack the containers into each other after emptying, before re-introduction to the greenhouse.
All trolleys have been provided with a bracket in the middle (bottom) to align the containers and guarantee fixed position on the cart. Also a lifting device has been developed to ensure a stable pick-off position for the robot. This robot with its clever gripper will pick off layers of containers (6 at a time) and deposit these layers always in the same position to the rest of the unloading, dumping and feeding installation.
After emptying, first 3 containers will be stacked into each other and subsequently accumulated until a full trolley with empty containers has been buffered. The robot will than restack onto the trolley, such that only 1 out of 3 carts will carry empty containers and the other carts can be stacked on top of each other (to save space).
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