Forbio: Robotic Plant Propagation

This equipment automatically picks plantlets from agar-gel trays, sections them using machine vision to identify the right cutting points, and replants the sections in new trays.

Client: Forbio
Product: Robotic Plant Propagation Machines

Automated clonal micro-propagation

Invetech was approached to refine the design, and manufacture and commission, automatic machines that would automatically harvest, cut and replant small plantlets of various species suitable for clonal micro-propagation.

The self-contained machine capable of processing 12 explants per minute comprised the following:

  • Dual camera stereo imagery and parallel processing of images for identification of plant nodes for automatic cutting
  • 9 independently controlled linear and two rotary axes with stepper motor actuation
  • 2 tray-dispensing magazines
  • 3 independent ‘smart location’ control conveyors
  • 3 independent harvesting, cutting and planting end effectors
  • Ultrasonic and heat augmented tool sterility
  • Air blast and vacuum waste removal
  • Rugged construction for operation in a harsh nursery environment

The robotic tissue culture machines increased production rate by 500% for equivalent labor utilizations, eliminated difficult, highly skilled and labor-intensive operations and reduced contamination.

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