Going forward, crop protection has become a whole lot easier for The Mastergrowers in De Lier. The crop protection spay robot from Robur Holland drives over the WPS SmartFlo tracks and spays the hydrangeas more evenly than before. Besides this, the work became easier and faster. This is a prime example for WPS and Robur to combine forces and come to a good hands-free solution for growers.
Spraying became more fun
Alex Stolze, head growers at The Mastergrowers: We are very happy with the commissioned robot. Last year we invited both parties to look at our request. We were looking for a less labor-intensive solution to do our crop protection. Bundling the knowledge of WPS and Robur has resulted in a perfect solution for us.”
Alex continues: “Until now, spraying happened by hand, having to start very early in the morning to get it done, and it is an art to get it done evenly. Besides this, we were shorthanded, and it wasn't easy to free up people to do this task on a weekly basis. With the robot driving over the SmartFlo track, the work became easier. More so with growth regulators. This has to be done fairly precise and evenly, and now, with the semi-automatic robot, it’s a breeze. With the remote control option, we can give individual plant sections their specific application. The work became more fun and easy, and the need to get up very early to accomplish the same has been diminished."
SmartFlo, a base for handsfree growing
No need for additional installation, the existing WPS SmartFlo systems make the infrastructure for the robot. Allowing The Mastergrowers to take care of their crop safely and almost handsfree. WPS and Robur share the same vision: more handsfree growing by automating. This project is the result of this vision and collaboration.
Jan van Staalduinen, director at Robur, has known WPS for many years. “In the old days, I met Eef, the founder of WPS, many times. Like WPS, we see the market develop towards automation, camera intelligence, and smart solutions. We at Robur are focusing on this as well, a collaboration with WPS was a logical choice for us. Besides this, we are practically neighbors, but everybody keeps focusing on their strengths.
From the start, Willem Jan of WPS was involved with this project: “At WPS, we often look for partners to come up with smart solutions for our clients. Though for this process, the grower made the match. This made us have a joint purpose. We knew that the tracks were strong enough to carry a robot, but this was a completely new application for us. After we shared our data, the engineers from Robur could confirm this as well.
“The idea was born pretty quickly.” continues Willem Jan, “Even though it took some time to develop a workable concept. Questions like: ’How fast can we move and how many liters per minute have to be applied?’ had to be verified before we could go to the drawing board.
Since last fall, the Robot has been operational, first on a test set up at Robur and later at The Mastergrowers.
Partners in Technology and growing
WPS is the automation go-to for logistics, sorting, and shipping systems for bedding and potted plants. They make sure companies become future-proof and develop tailor-made solutions for individual growers. Besides this, all WPS systems can be linked together. This synergy amplifies each individual solution. Also ready for handsfree growing?