The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) has identified dehanding of bananas as a labour-intensive process that could be transformed through the use of Industry 4.0 technology.
Associate Professor Cori Stewart, CEO at ARM Hub, is delighted with the new partnership that will help transform Australia’s horticulture industry.
“Australia is known for its array of fresh fruit, however the challenges the horticulture industry has faced over the last few years with natural disasters and working visa reduction, has hit hard,” says Cori.
“Together we need to take a proactive approach to address these challenges, to reduce crop loss, damage to land, as well as banana price hikes in supermarkets.
“We are pleased that ARM Hub is part of the solution.”
ARM Hub expert, Dr Chris Lehnert along with Designer Anthony Franze and Robotics Engineer Troy Cordie, have been working with North Queensland banana farmers to understand the production process and identify any potential opportunities for incorporating robotics and automation in dehanding.
“As we aim to address the National Manufacturing Priorities for Food and Beverages, we must ensure we are taking action at a grassroots level by addressing the challenges for our farmers,” says Chris.
“The banana industry, and the Australian horticulture industry at large, can significantly benefit, from incorporating Industry 4.0 technology into their processes. And technology advances so quickly, it is timely to take a closer look both at current practices and the technological developments over recent years that could potentially make a difference.”
The expert team just returned from a three day intensive with farmers in Tully and Innisfail and will now prepare a report to Hort Innovation, growers and stakeholders in North Queensland on potential technologies and recommended next steps.