Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ROBOTGRAFT (An integrated high throughput robot and a new multi-rootstock grafting technology to improve plant/crop yield)
Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2016-03-31
There is an increasing global demand for food production and more sustainable methods of farming. Plant grafting is a technique in horticulture and agriculture that delivers the desired characteristics of more than one plant and is the most diffused practice employed to achieve more durable, more resistant and productive plants. Traditionally, grafting is performed manually however it is both labour intensive and costly. Virentes innovative business project aims to significantly disrupt the grafting industry by offering a fully automated robot that simultaneously performs grafting activities including undertaking trimming, clearing and disinfecting. The objectives of the Phase 2 are to engineer the grafting robot to graft at capacity of no less than 5000 plants an hour; automate grafting methods to a level that will increase productivity and reduce water and fertilizer usage; and demonstrate and validate the RobotGraft through implementation at nurseries in Israel and the UK. The overall objective of the project is to start full commercialisation of RobotGraft as a reliable innovation validated by the relevant end-users, nurseries.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
Virentes undertook a full analysis of both the technical and business potential of the grafting robot establishing early on the potential ways to commercialise the robot through Europe and calculating five year financial projections based on these sale channels. Virentes analysed its current level of development and reviewed and adjusted the overall project objectives according to the remaining technical activities required for commercialisation. During the PH1 project Virentes established both engineering and industrialisation plans. Within the business feasibility, Virentes addressed its value chain identifying early on strategic partnerships with clients that will be fundamental to both the successful delivery of the Phase 2 project and through commercialisation.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
The expected outcome of the project is to start full commercialisation of Virentes’ grafting robot at the end of Phase 2 as a reliable innovation validated by the relevant end users. The RobotGraft solution will offer a highly disruptive solution to the agricultural industry whilst offering end users both cost savings and higher crops yields. Virentes will also create jobs and boost economic growth for European SMEs and the overall agricultural industry.