A robotic apple packer from New Zealand-based Robotics Plus has won a major technology award.
Robotics Plus’ robotic Aporo apple packer won the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Most Innovative Hi-Tech Agritech Solution, according to a news release. In addition, the company was named Callaghan Innovation Hi-Tech Kamupene Maori o te Tau - Maori Company of the Year.
Robotics Plus’ robotic Aporo apple packers were launched in May 2018. The unit packs up to 120 apples per minute in display trays, according to the release. The technology is being marketed by Global Pac Technologies, a Jenkins Group (New Zealand/Australia) and Van Doren Sales (U.S.) joint venture. The technology is already operating in packinghouses in New Zealand and the U.S., with installations in Europe to follow, according to the company.
The release said Robotics Plus has a range of other technologies under development, including an autonomous agricultural vehicle, robotic pollinator, robotic harvesters, crop estimator, and other projects.
The company recently received an investment of $8 million from partner Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. (Japan), to bring Yamaha’s total investment in Robotics Plus to $10 million, according to the release.
“It’s been a pivotal year for Robotics Plus,” Matt Glenn, CEO of Robotics Plus, said in the release.
“We’re working on a very ambitious growth plan, with the support of local and international partners such as Global Pac Technologies, ISO Limited, Trimax and Yamaha Motor, who are helping us scale quickly to achieve this.”
George Kellerman, CEO & Managing Director Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley, said in the release that the company invested in Robotics Plus in response to rising demand from the agricultural sector for sophisticated and precision robotics and automation technologies that will reduce labor needs and create new efficiencies.