Sonoco invests in agricultural company Harvest CROO Robotics

Our take: Overview of Sonoco's purpose and what they see in the technology driving robotic harvesting. | -----------------

Packaging company Sonoco has invested in US-based robotics firm Harvest CROO Robotics as it aims to increase harvesting efficiency and expand into fresh food packaging.

Harvest CROO Robotics began operations in 2012 and has developed a fully autonomous, fully automatic strawberry picker.

Sonoco said a key driver in the development of the packaging and harvesting technology solution is the current and projected labour shortage in agriculture.

The harvester will be able to pick eight acres of strawberries per day with the goal of picking 95% of the fruit off any plant.

The new Harvest CROO technology will allow growers to avoid picking during the hottest part of the day, when berries bruise the easiest.

The patented technology revolves around the concept of the Pitzer Picking Wheel.

The wheel utilises “conservation of motion” principles, with robotic picking heads that can achieve 360 degrees of rotation and will decrease the amount of movement the robot has to accomplish to complete the picking action.

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