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European Fruit Magazine

Pear gripper detects and harvests fruits without damage

Researchers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) from the Netherlands have developed a prototype pear gripper that can harvest pears undamaged. Until now, researchers and manufacturers, worldwide have mainly focussed on robotised apple harvesting. This became clear on 29 November at the Science Day in Eindhoven, organised by the Dutch Fruit growers Organisation (Nederlandse Fruittelers Organisatie – NFO).

According to researcher Jochen Hemming of WUR, an apple can be harvested relatively easily by having a robot picker make a turning movement as a result of which the apple, including the stalk, comes off the tree. To harvest pears also with the stalk, a complex picking movement is needed. Within the available free space inside the tree, in between the branches and the leaves, for instance, the pear gripper must make an upward turning movement to pick the pear along with the stalk. Therefore, the picking movement is integrated in the pear gripper and not in the robot arm.

Read more on this in the EFM January edition