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.