The Automated Greenhouse: What robots can contribute to herb production

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The Automated Greenhouse: What robots can contribute to herb production

Intelligent automation makes herb production competitive and flexible. Therefore, Rosborg Food Holding, Denmark’s largest producer of herbs and miniature plants, has decided to automate their greenhouse with OnRobot’s collaborative grippers.

 

Since ancient times, herbs have been an appreciated good. In the course of centuries, however, the conditions of their preparation have changed.

 

Food manufacturers face the challenges of a globalized market environment.

  • The demand for their products is constantly growing.
  • Its product range is becoming more diverse.
  • The products themselves are subjected to a high degree of seasonality.

 

In order to stay competitive, manufacturers need to rationalize and automate their production comprehensively.

 

This is also noticed by Danish manufacturer Rosborg Food Holding:

Plant Manager in the Automated Greenhouse

 

“We are continuously working to improve the productivity and efficiency of our processes. By finding automation solutions for monotonous, physically demanding tasks, we can relieve our employees. At the same time, it helps us to reduce the number of overtime hours and the employment of temporary staff.”

 

Henning Jørgensen, partner and plant manager of Rosborg Food Holding

 

 

How automation increases efficiency in the greenhouse

 

Facing the aforementioned challenges, food producers are searching for ways to increase production capacities, especially at peak times like Christmas or Easter. At the same time, they don’t want to see their revenue cut by overtime and replacement workers.

 

Therefore, collaborative robots find their way into the greenhouse, rendering it an increasingly automated environment. 

 

Rosborg for instance experienced shrinking profit margins at times of high production volumes. In 2013, a new owner modernized the company’s entire manufacturing. He invested 37 million Danish crowns in highly efficient greenhouses equipped with automation technology and robots. At the same time, Rosborg expanded its product range to meet the growing demand for herbs other than those traditionally used in Scandinavian cuisine.

 

“Our employees have a positive attitude towards the prospect of using collaborative robot technologies. They view them as production support, helping them to work more efficiently and reduce overtime,” Jørgensen explains.

 

No automated greenhouse without sensitive gripping

Collaborative Gripper in the Automated Greenhouse

 

The handling of delicate goods like herbs requires a high degree of dexterity, which represents an interesting challenge when it comes to automating this process.

“We were looking for a gripper that could gently lift the herbs and flowers without crushing them,” recalls Jørgensen. Therefore, they chose OnRobot’s RG6 gripper, which is characterized by

  • gentle and careful gripping movements,
  • precision,
  • and flexibility.

This is only possible, as the gripper’s two “fingers” feature intelligent, advanced technology, that mimics the human sense of touch when gripping and moving objects.

 

 

The RG6 is mounted on a collaborative robot arm by Universal Robots, making for a flexible packaging line. Together, arm and gripper now fold packaging cartons and place herbal fine cuts in the folding boxes.

 

Flexibility and ROI: Crucial factors for robots in the automated greenhouse

 

The new generation of collaborative robots places extremely diverse demands on the gripper at the end of the robot arm. 

 

“What the gripper needs to be capable of depends entirely on the selected task,” says Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot. “The more user-friendly, flexible and careful the gripper, the greater the variety of tasks that can be automated, and the faster the robots and grippers pay off for the buyer.”

 

Jørgensen confirms: “When choosing our solution, the best possible payback period was of course a crucial factor.”

 

Rosborg on the way to fully automated plant handling in the greenhouse

 

Rosborg Food Holding is a great example for successful greenhouse automation. It is therefore not surprising that Henning Jørgensen is already planning further steps: “The next project will be the acquisition of another collaborating robot with a gripper suitable for equipping a cutting machine for the herbs.” Perspectively, arm and gripper are supposed to carefully pick up the plants, turn them and then place them on the conveyor belt to the cutting machine.

Privacy Policy for processing and protecting personal data

This data protection policy applies to OnRobot.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure and document that OnRobot protects personal data in accordance with the rules for processing of personal data. The policy will also contribute to OnRobot providing information about its processing and use of registered personal data.

The policy will be reviewed each year.

Record of the processing of personal data

OnRobot processes personal data about:

  • Employees

  • Customers

  • Suppliers

  • Applicants

OnRobot has prepared a record of the processing of personal data. The record provides an overview of the processing for which OnRobot is responsible.

The personal data must be provided in order for OnRobot to enter into employment, customer and supplier contracts.

Purpose and lawfulness of the processing

Personal data are processed and archived in connection with:

  • HR management, including recruitment, hiring, dismissal and payment of salary

  • Master data for customers as well as orders and sales

  • Master data for suppliers as well as requisition forms and purchases

  • Contracts

Processing is legal by the authority specified in the appended record.

OnRobot does not use the personal data for purposes other than those listed. OnRobot does not collect more personal data than necessary to meet the purpose. 

Storage and erasure

OnRobot has introduced the following overall guidelines for storage and erasure of personal data:

  • Personal data are stored in physical folders.

  • Personal data are stored in IT systems and on server drives.

  • Personal data are not stored for longer than necessary to meet the purpose of the processing.

  • Personal data for employees are erased five years after employment has ended, and personal data about applicants are erased after six months.

Data security

Based on the appended risk assessment, OnRobot has implemented security measures to protect personal data:

  • Only employees with a work-related need to access the registered personal data have access to the data, either physically or via IT systems with rights management.

  • All computers are password protected and employees may not disclose their passwords to others.

  • Computers must have firewall and antivirus software installed, which must be updated regularly.

  • Personal data are erased securely in connection with phasing-out and repair of IT equipment.

  • USB flash drives, external hard disks, etc. containing personal data must be stored in a locked drawer or cabinet.

  • Physical folders are placed in a locked office or in locked cabinets.

  • Personal data in physical folders are erased by shredding.

  • All employees must be instructed in what to do with personal data and how to protect personal data.

 

Website and Cookie

  • The Personal Data Regulation allows you to treat personal data only legally for the purpose for which they have been collected. If you want to use data for purposes other than the original, you must always have the consent of the registrant.

  • Upon receipt of a business card from a customer you have his consent. If you write his information you need his signature on this paper to have a formal requirement for consent if you want to use his information. Then the customer allows OnRobot to use his data for purposes other than communication, upcoming promotions, product updates or further news including upcoming promotions, product updates and further news.

  • According to the Cookie Act, OnRobot must have the user’s consent to use this software on the user’s equipment. On The company’s intranet or similar closed group, the rules in the E-data protection directive do not apply.

Disclosure

Personal data about employees may be disclosed to public authorities such as the Danish Customs and Tax Administration and pension companies.

Processors

OnRobot only uses processors if they are able to provide the required guarantees that they will implement appropriate technical and organisational security measures to comply with personal data law. All processors must sign a processor agreement before processing commences.

Rights                                                                      

OnRobot safeguards the rights of data subjects, including the right to access, withdrawal of consent, rectification and erasure and will inform the data subjects of OnRobot’s processing of personal data. Data subjects are also entitled to appeal to the Danish Data Protection Agency.

Personal data breach

In case of personal data breach, OnRobot will report the breach to the Danish Data Protection Agency as soon as possible and within 72 hours. The manager is responsible for this reporting taking place. The report will outline the breach, the groups of persons affected and the impact the breach may have on these persons and how OnRobot has remedied or intends to remedy the breach. If the breach entails a high risk for the persons about whom OnRobot processes personal data, OnRobot will also notify these persons. OnRobot s will document any personal data breach on an access-controlled drive.

Erasure of data

The customer should assess when personal data need to be erased by asking the question:

When is it no longer necessary to store the personal data?

OnRobot follows the practice of the Danish Data Protection Agency:

Applications Are erased after 6 months in connection with job interviews. Unsolicited applications are erased immediately.
Employee data Are erased 5 years after termination of employment.
CCTV surveillance Is erased after 30 days.
Telephone conversations Are erased immediately or after up to 3 months.
Accounting records Must be stored for 5 years from the end of the financial year.


 

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