More and more sectors automate and digitize their processes through the use of new technologies. This also occurs in the agri-food sector and, more specifically in the agricultural sector, where traditional machinery incorporates devices based on new technologies: location, quality inspections, crop management, etc.

The objective is to improve the productivity of agricultural areas, reduce production costs, improve product quality and, above all, improve people’s working conditions. For this reason, the investment in this type of technology is increasing.

One of the current trends is the improvement and design of new machines to automate processes that until now have been carried out manually.

Within this framework, ATRIA has participated in the development of a system for the automatic pruning of the vine named ROBOTRIM and of which today we will tell you more details.

What is ROBOTRIM?

ROBOTRIM aims to carry out the pruning of the vine automatically. This includes both its autonomous circulation through the extensions of vines, as well as the execution of the cut to carry out the pruning also e automatically.

Pruning is done in winter and consists of cutting the branches of the vine with specific criteria to prevent it from growing uncontrollably. Currently, it is done manually, by personnel who make the cuts using scissors, usually pneumatic.

The ROBOTRIM chassis, designed in the shape of an arch, is inserted on both sides of the vine, leaving it in the middle and moving along it. The equipment has a vision system developed by ATRIA, which detects, using image processing algorithms, the cut points for each type of vine.

The scissors to perform the cut is placed at the end of a robotic arm, which is large enough to reach the different positions in which the branches of the vine are found. In this way, it makes the cuts of the concrete branches, with precision.

The vision system locates the cutting points in 3D and sends the coordinates to the robotic arm, which is positioned according to that information to perform the cut. For this, both teams must be perfectly calibrated to each other.

In addition, the system has a set of batteries and motors that allow its autonomous movement.

Project development framework

The project has been developed within the framework of the national call for the AEI call program of the Ministry of the Interior. The objective of the call is to improve the competitiveness of small and medium companies, and promote the digitization of different sectors.

This project has been carried out with the following partners. In the first place, FEMAC, is the cluster of agricultural production means in Catalonia, in charge of the management and dissemination of the project. Grupo Cordorniu, one of the most prominent winegrowing groups in Spain, has made available to the rest of the partners knowledge about the pruning process and the means to carry out field tests.On the other hand, TEYME, a company specialized in the manufacture of agricultural machinery has done the design of the system chassis. Vernis Motors has provided the motors and batteries that allow the team to move.

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