In a New Zealand First – FTEK demonstrate their prototype robotic modular platform demonstrating the layering attachment.
Last month New Zealand growers & industry partners were given an exciting glimpse into the future of greenhouse crop maintenance & harvesting autonomy with FTEK.
Their RLAP (Robotic labor assist platform) is the latest product development by FTEK, a company that, over the past 10 years, has broken into the Australasian greenhouse equipment market by challenging the conventional.
Back in 2019, Brothers James and Mark Currie, owners of FTEK, were approached by Tomatoes NZ and other major growers to help solve the ever-increasing labor challenges the industry is facing.
FTEK initiated this project by investigating labor-intensive and repetitive jobs greenhouse tomato growers conduct on a regular basis. They looked at layering, de-leafing, clipping, pruning, and harvesting.
They identified tomato layering as a strategic early tangible solution. “This was a perfect task, to begin with, as it presents the heaviest and highest vertical requirements when undertaking plant maintenance. We now have a very capable modular robotic platform that can reach up to 5 meters, says James”. From day one, they set out to build a multipurpose machine that would have the potential to carry out numerous tasks throughout the crop with a single platform utilizing interchangeable task-specific tools/attachments developed.