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Processing bananas using robotics and AI

The ARM Hub is helping the banana industry overcome processing challenges. ...

We are working with Australia’s banana industry to improve processing.

The second stage of a research project to automate de-handing bananas is underway, with the proof-of-concept to be tested at a mocked-up banana processing facility at the ARM Hub.

The robotic arm will build on the first stage of the project, which found computer vision within the robotic system could identify appropriate cutting locations, assisted by the contrasting green and black abscission line present where the hand connects to the stalk.

The ARM Hub was instrumental in the feasibility stage of the study, which provided information to the industry on what was required for automation.

What is banana de-handing?

Banana de-handing is the process of separating the banana hands from the bunch.

It is a crucial process on any commercial banana farm and those responsible set the pace of the packing shed and the quality of fruit heading to market.

While a skilled task, it is manual, repetitive, and labour intensive, relying heavily on being able to hire and train experienced staff.

Any improvements in efficiency impacts on growers’ processing costs, which is also a win for consumers.

The project is a collaboration with Hort Innovation, QUT, Future Food Systems CRC, and BNL Industrial Solutions.

Read the ABC Rural article