The Essential Role of Servicing in Greenhouse Robotics

By: Boy de Nijs

As growers eagerly anticipate the integration of robots into their operations, a critical aspect often remains in the shadows – the service and maintenance of this new robotic workforce.

Acknowledging the Crucial Role of Servicing

When envisioning a future bolstered by robotics, the initial focus gravitates towards the hardware and software driving these machines. However, the importance of servicing tends to take a back seat despite its monumental significance. As the industry embraces a new era of automating labor within greenhouses, the implications of service reliability become undeniable.

Labor shortages continue to threaten businesses' stability, making consistent and efficient harvesting a pressing concern. While robotics offer a viable solution, their effectiveness relies on uninterrupted performance. Behind every robotic marvel lies a combination of hardware, including batteries, wiring, and mechanical components, along with software and artificial intelligence – the robot's "brain." This AI-driven "brain" not only enhances harvest efficiency and monitors greenhouse conditions but also keeps tabs on the robot's service status and component health through predictive maintenance. Timely alerts ensure the robot's continuous performance.

Each GRoW harvesting robot functions as an intelligent entity, connected to the cloud for data storage. Active warnings can be dispatched to the servicing hub, enabling extensive remote diagnostics and maintenance to keep GRoW operating optimally. MetoMotion, Ridder's partner and robot manufacturer, can access this data with grower permission, allowing them to monitor, diagnose, and proactively service the robot remotely.

Balancing Predictive Maintenance with Human Touch

Predictive maintenance and performance analysis help keep things running smoothly by predicting and fixing issues before they become big problems. This happens through remote support, where experts can check on and adjust robots from afar. It's like a doctor giving advice over the phone.

But sometimes, things can get a bit tricky, and that's when having a person around becomes really helpful. Imagine a skilled mechanic fine-tuning the engine of a car. Similarly, trained technicians can handle complex situations in the greenhouse that may not show up on the computer screen. A mix of remote help and hands-on fixing ensures that the GRoW robots work well in all situations, even when things get complicated.

To make sure GRoW robots work their best, it's like having both a helpful friend on the phone and a skilled mechanic in person – it's the perfect combination to keep everything working smoothly.

Learning from Startups: The Importance of a Robust Service Network

New technology startup companies often grapple with growing pains, particularly in terms of servicing. A notable example is the Dutch company VanMoof, renowned for its innovative bicycles. As their success surged, they faced challenges in keeping up with the overwhelming service demand for their bikes.

In contrast, MetoMotion has the advantage of relying on Ridder's trusted service network with 70 years of experience in guaranteeing the continuity of horticulture businesses. With a proven track record of providing local service and support, MetoMotion can ensure that the GRoW robot thrives without compromise.

The Benefits of Servicing with Ridder and the GRoW Robot

GRoW's recent triumph in the Robot Challenge at GreenTech Amsterdam underscores its role not just as a remarkable robot but as a cornerstone of the automation landscape. Through the collaboration between Ridder and MetoMotion, each GRoW robot comes with a comprehensive service and maintenance package. This commitment ensures that every GRoW robot remains up to date with the latest advancements, providing investors with a state-of-the-art, well-maintained machine.

Ridder's service package goes beyond the present, opening doors for future growth and development.

Invest in a Future of Greenhouse Robotics

Choosing GRoW means investing in a future-proof platform, enabling growers to explore new avenues of business growth and efficiency. Beyond optimizing manual tasks and gathering data, GRoW introduces servicing continuity and flexibility into the management equation.

For further insights into the transformative potential of the GRoW harvest robot, explore the GRoW factsheet on the shift from human to robotic labor in the greenhouse.

Download the Factsheet